American studio Ptacek Home has produced the Chunk Line furniture collection, which aims to combine traditional techniques with a “modern, sculptural twist,” from trees that were downed by storms or felled for safety.
The US-based studio, whose collection is shortlisted in the sustainable design category for Dezeen Awards 2021, uses salvaged wood from local forests to create its furniture.
“Our forests give up large chunks of wood along highways and in neighborhoods that are not commercially viable on an industrial scale so often end up as firewood or landfill,” the studio said.
Taking advantage of this supply of wood, Ptacek Home creates furniture that is both made and used locally. “I use a small loader and a portable tree mill along with my woodshop to take the project from sawlog to a finished piece by myself,” founder Thomas Ptacek told Dezeen.
“I then deliver to local customers so the piece lives within a few miles from where the tree was originally grown and salvaged,” he added.
“After a storm, I often get calls from homeowners and tree service companies asking me if I want the latest downed tree with the hope of saving it from becoming firewood.”
The studio’s Chunk Line collection features benches made from Norwegian Spruce and a planter made from storm-downed Black Locust, which is suitable for planters as it is very rot-resistant.
“The wood came from mature trees that posed a hazard in a school yard and needed to be taken down,” Ptacek said. “In their place, we constructed a gymnasium and Chunk Line Benches are now placed inside.”
Ptacek, who is a builder but started as a furniture maker, aims for the project to take advantage of an existing, sustainable wood supply and displace the need for “mass-market offerings with unsustainably large carbon footprints”.
After the furniture is built, the wood is finished with a polymerized tung oil and beeswax in a citrus-based solvent with no chemical driers.
“Easily returned to the earth if it is left to decay, but hopefully recycled before that happens into another useful object,” Ptacek concluded.
Other projects shortlisted in the sustainable design category include seaweed-based material Notpla and recyclable construction material Honext.