Tree Trunk Chair is formed by a living tree trunk

In collaboration with Gavin Munro, known for his Grown Furniture series, Dutch designer Maarten Baas developed the concept of the Tree Trunk Chair, a tree shaped like a chair, which will take 200 years to form.

The concept of manipulating trees to take a certain form has been around for a long time. In India, for example, living tree root bridges have been used for centuries. In addition to bridges, this technique has also been used for architectural constructions made from trees.

Gavin Munro took inspiration from banker and farmer John Krubsack, the first to create a living chair, to create his furniture collection. His chairs take about 3 to 10 years to fully grow.

Taking tree construction to the next level, Baas proposes a chair concept formed as an indentation in a tree trunk. Using only a mould, Baas aims to turn a Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubra) into a chair. The Tree Trunk Chair will take 200 years to form. When the tree has matured, the chair can be harvested by cutting the tree down.

The project aims to disrupt the mass production process which is based on fleeting trends. Production in this time limit has never been done before. Therefore, Baas and his team work with arborists, bioengineers and structural engineers to develop a mould that lasts for 200 years, but will also account for the growth variations of the tree. The challenge lies in ensuring the tree stays healthy, grows in the designed method and fully take the shape of the mould material. Currently, they are working on finalising the mould and the production process.

If you want a chair for your grandchildren, Baas’ team is looking to collaborate with both institutions and private clientele. They already have a partnership with the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands to further research and development for the project execution.

Renderings: Maarten Baas