primary research - LIBRARY



  • two main groups - willows, poplars and aspens
  • broad-leaved trees grow extremely fast, are short lives
  • seeds are adapted for wind dispersal, have tuft of white hairs enabling them to be blown
  • North American quaking aspens can survive drought and flooding
  • leaves shake and tremble even when there is no detectable wind - leaf stems are long and on right angles
  • male's have about 50 separate flowers, look like a cup holding a stem - are dark red then change to yellow from pollen
  • female's are larger than male with a similar amount of flowers, ripen to form seed pods and split in midsummer to release seeds


  • box-elder or ash-leaved maple - leaves with 3 to 5 separate leaflets
  • winged seeds, each of which has one wing, paired at first, often split before whirling
  • swamp or water maple is beautifully coloured all year round, glossy red twigs, small red flowers, red keys
  • Norway maple occasionally turns scarlet in autumn


  • a spreading base connects the tree to a circle of roots which anchor it to the ground
  • trunks grow longer and straighter when trees grow closer together
  • the bark at the base of the tree is more likely to be rugged and cracked
  • bark becomes smoother hight up the tree
  • branches remain at the same height above ground as a tree grows, becoming thicker each year
  • leaves and flowers develop from buds each spring
  • in summer, deciduous trees have a dense canopy of leaves


  • biggest family of conifers - spruces, cedars, larches, true pines (about 40 species)
  • relatively long needle-like leaves, borne in clusters of two, three, or five, held together by a base of papery sheath
  • male flowers are bright yellow by the ripening pollen
  • female flowers are blue at first, and purple by midsummer
  • cones take a year to mature
  • long needles are carried in pairs and have a bluish tinge

secondary research - ART + DESIGN PRECEDENTS


RAWtation by Adi Zaffran Weisler

A set of tables and stools by combining tree branches, trunks and twigs with plastic during the moulding process. During the process, plastic is placed in a mould, heated, rotated and then allowed to cool, with the plastic curing around the organic material to form a strong fixing.

I love how organic materials are combined with industrial materials to create a whole collection of furniture. My favourite piece is the side table filled with randomly arranged twigs. I like how the texture is translated into the plastic exterior giving it a tie to the natural material.

Mangier: Eating Tree by Smarin

This raw natural wood, eating tree to eat any kind of finger food. “It’s spring time now, and happiness of picking.”

I like how these tree structured food serving products are made from raw natural wood. They are cute and quirky, and make it fun and interactive for people to eat from.

iTREE Speaker by KMKG

The iTree is a top-quality iPhone and iPod docking station made out of a simple tree trunk. This is hollowed out using a special technique and specialized tools, expertly proportioned to produce optimum sound quality through the speakers. Each iTree is unique – costumers choose the wood, the length and the built-in technology. They can even take a ride through the forest and pick out their own tree. The iTree is then made by hand in the “Steirische Vulkanland” region of southern Austria by carpenters “Tischlerei Lenz”, keeping the iTree local. There are currently three types of iTree – cherry, poplar and spruce – however, almost any kind of wood can be used. 

Aside from the actually look and design of this product, I love the experience that it creates for the user, how they can travel to the forest and actually select the tree for their own customized product. I think this makes it really personal and gives the customer a sense of connection to the forest and the product that they will enjoy in their home.

Tree Chair's Family by Nacho Carbonell

Tree Chair issues from a fairytale-like fantasy about a wooden chair that looks out of the window one day and realizes that it used to be just like the trees outside. Yearning to return to its former state, the chair grows to become a hybrid tree-chair. Users can choose to sit on it ‘normally’ but can also climb into the upper part via the ladder, from which position they can observe events below from a safe place on high or – even better – can roll up and take a nap. For the coating, the designer made use of a mixture of dried leaves, among other things. In conjunction with the Tree Chair, the other two objects, which were realized this year, form a kind of family of individuals, each with its own character.

I love that these chair's represent the act of climbing a tree, the easy way, by leaning a ladder against it to climb that to the desired branch. I like that it also functions of a form of treehouse, and combined with a small pod on the top where someone can curl up and relax.

Wood Casting Collection by Hilla Shamia Design Studio's

"The dark coal narrates the love story between the [wood and aluminium], emphasising their initial meeting, outlining a sense of continuation, and maintaining a sense of flow even when the two materials are solid and strong, just like the dynamics between an elderly couple."

I love how full-length tree trunks are split to make beautiful pieces of furniture. The idea of having molten aluminum poured into the moulds to fill the cracks in the wood, makes for interesting patterns and landscapes. I love the look of the burnt edges of the wood and how it creates a joint between the wood and the aluminum.

Revised Craft by Sjoerd Vroonland

The branch chair is an interpretation of how chairs are used in various ways, for example for hanging coats and other items on.

I love how the wood branches off the top of these chairs keep in theme with matching the other wooden rung on the opposite side of the chair back. This texture adds another element of interest and design. I am guilty for hanging towels, clothes, purses off the back of the chair in my room, and this this idea is genius.

Temporary Trees by Raw Color and Mkgk

 For Raw Color and studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters trees are anything but static. They ever changing life forms that determine how we experience light, shade, wind and changes of the seasons. This observation, is translated to “illusions” of trees in different materials, that represent the life, dynamics and transformation of trees.

I love this film (click link above) and series of photos, as they really represent the life and growth of trees to me. I like that with each person and material, different patterns are created, and a different portrait of a tree is painted. I like that in the photos the movement is still translated.

Zander Olsen's Tree Line Project

This is an ongoing series of constructed photographs, by Zander Olsen, rooted in the forest. These works, carried out in Surrey, Hampshire and Wales,involve site specific interventions in the landscape, ‘wrapping’ trees with white material to construct a visual relationship between tree, not-tree and the line of horizon according to the camera’s viewpoint.’

The way the viewers perspective is changed by the paintings on the trees is extremely interesting to me. It makes them blend with the landscape in a way that our eyes wouldn't see otherwise. I love how the landscape is given a new look.

The Patient Gardener by Visiondivision

A circle of trees will frame an hourglass-shaped hut for Milan that won’t be complete for 100 years. Aptly titled The Patient Gardener, the garden structure will be shaped from a circle of ten Japanese cherry trees that will be bent, pruned and woven as they grow. The trees will be tied to a central wooden scaffold to frame the dome-shaped ground floor, whilst branches above will be directed outwards as first-floor walls. 

I love the idea of this structure needing to grow over time to become complete. I think it would be a very interesting and relaxing study area. Because it takes so long to grow, it is neat that different generations of students will get to participate in its making.

Bird-Apartment Treehouse by Nendo

Designed for the Momofuku Ando Center, a facility devoted to promoting and increasing access to nature activities, this bird apartment houses a person and also acts as collective housing for birds. On one side, the treehouse has 78 nest spaces for birds to make their home and one the other side, there is one entrance for a human.

I love how this giant bird house is also a tree house for humans. I really like the concept behind having the two types of houses combined so that humans can become interactive with nature and birds.

Vana by Orproject

Features four trunk-like structures designed to mimic natural growth patterns. To achieve this, the team developed a series of algorithms that mimic the veins found in leaves. The four trunks branch upwards and outwards from "seed points" on the floor towards "target points" on the ceiling where they join up into a single surface, creating a suspended tensile structure.

I love the tessellation of the paper and how it is stitched together with joints. The craftsmanship looks incredibly details and well done, and I like the extra touch of the LED lights. It's nice that when the lights are on, they are easily seen shining through the stitching and gaps.

Folded Plywood by Harry Roseman

The subjects of Harry Roseman’s work are the bend of a curve, the conjunction of edges, the turn of a fold, the weight and nature of objects, the conjunction of idea and object, the way an idea sits in an object and next to an object and the way surface can obscure and also reveal. One of his aims is to close the distance between thinking, looking and making, to the point where it is hard to tell the difference.

These pieces really had me look twice. At first I didn't believe that they were made from one piece of wood, but they actually are! I love the shapes that they are bent into, and I love the variety of layers in the folds.

Hell Yes! temporary restaurant - tables made by Linda Bergroth

Guests will dine at tables made by Linda Bergroth from saplings thinned out from a forest near Helsinki, secured at the top to form arching branches over each table.

I love the arches that are worked into the settings of these tables. The thin branches are a nice detail and do not take away from the over all ambience of the room. I really think they way they are tied together looks effortless.

Vaisselier Système D by Matière A

A kitchen storage system using a tree branch and some timber batons. This dresser is 'DIY' by its creation process. The first act was to saw a branch, then compose around it with square wood rod, which put the emphasis on the hard wood, the center of the project.

I love that this storage system uses different types of wood, yet highlights the natural wood branch as a focal point to the product. I like that the branch is the strongest part of the tree and the storage item.


Add comment

Fields marked by '*' are required.
Comments are moderated. If you choose to make this comment public, it will not be visible to others until it is approved by the owner.
Help for "License"
The license for this content.

Help for "Licensor"
The original licensor for this content.
Help for "Original URL"
The original URL for this content.

Reply to:

Private: This reply will only be visible to you and the author of the preceeding comment.