The wood furniture building industry is a far cry from a sustainable operation, as much as 80% of the wood timber used in the factories ends up in the trash. Marjan Van Aubel and James Shaw investigated a way in which to create furniture out of the waste through a chemical bond between sawdust and bio-resin. The results were a chemical reaction, a material they have coined foamed wood, and a new chair design for Benchmark Studio. Check it out after the jump!
“Working with Jamie Shaw I have been developing an exciting new material from waste wood.
Understanding that there is 50% to 80% of timber wastage during normal manufacture, we looked at ways of incorporating waste shavings into design using bio-resin. A curious chemical reaction occurs when it is mixed with the shavings, expanding it into foam. By adding colour dye and varied-sized shavings from different workshop machines, a colourful, lightweight and mouldable material was created, reinforced by the fibres in the hardwood shavings.
The porridge-like mixture of resin and shavings was slapped on to the underside of the chair shell by hand, building up the material wherever extra strength was required. The mixture then foamed explosively to create its own exuberant form, anchored by the simple turned legs of American ash.
The project has been a collaboration between the RCA and the American Hardwood Export Council. We have also been helped along by Benchmark Furniture who kindly let us spend a week in their factory.
The chairs produced during the project will be some of the first pieces of furniture subjected to Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) an important tool for measuring and comparing environmental impacts of manufactured goods.
The project was be launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London September 2012.”
– Marjan Van Aubel