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Meet The Designer Who Invented 'Organic 3D Printing'

An artistic furniture designer has found a way to "program" nature to produce functional pieces of furniture.

Designer Gavin Munro and the team at his UK-based furniture company, Full Grown don't believe in cutting down majestic trees in order to shape wood into tables and chairs using saws and furniture glue. Instead, they teach trees to shape themselves into furniture from the ground up!

Full Grown's innovative creation is what Munro calls "Zen 3D printing" and the idea came to him when he was a young boy. As a child, Munro was forced to stay in the hospital for days on end due to an illness and at that time, he was charmed by a bonsai in his garden that happened to be in the shape of a chair. With time to think as he recovered, his mind began to wander and connect the dots between trees, furniture and what would eventually become Full Grown.

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“In essence it’s an incredibly simple art..." Munro said. "...I’m interested in the way that this is like an organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source materials. After it’s grown into the shape we want, we continue to care for and nurture the tree, while it thickens and matures, before harvesting it in the winter and then letting it season and dry. It’s then a matter of planing and finishing to show off the wood and grain inside.”

Full Grown's collection includes collections that are named such as the Nelson Chair, and while all of the company's Nelson Chairs will follow a certain overall design, each Nelson Chair will have distinct and unique characteristics making Full Grown's furniture pieces truly one of a kind works of organic art.

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With around 500 pieces of artistically satisfying furniture currently in production, Full Grown's open-air, four-acre factory typically has 3,000 trees planted at any given time. The company proudly grows chairs, tables and even lamps. Amazingly, no glue, nails or joints are needed to make the furniture usable. Grafts are used only when necessary. Munro and his team took 10 years to study, plan and complete the process of growing furniture which involves strategic planting and shaping until the trees reach full maturity at which point they can be harvested and sold.

Full Grown found success on Kickstarter (which is a great way to learn more about Munro's vision) and the company's prototype, the Willow Chair has been accepted as a part of the National Museum of Scotland's permanent collection.

What do you think about Munro's idea to grow furniture out of the ground? Let us know in the comments!

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