When it comes to eco-friendly furniture, most of us can only think of using sustainably harvested woods or resources like bamboo that don’t tax the environment too much. More innovative furniture makers have experimented with materials like cardboard and reclaimed wood though designer Xerock Kim has had a rather novel idea that includes using tree bark to finish furniture rather than veneers, stains and laminates.
The South Korean designer has employed tree bark that is often discarded during the process of turning felled trees into pieces of wood ready for construction of homes and furniture. The plentiful material is often sold to businesses running wood furnaces or to organizations that employ bark as a manufacturing material. For furniture makers that source entire logs of wood from local sellers, tree barks are pretty much a waste product and these often get thrown away.
However, in the method used by Xerock Kim, the bark that covers the exterior of wood on trees is actually used to serve as the exterior finish of wood based furniture. Part of the designer’s “Accumulation” line, the innovative exterior was given a pleasant finish using a traditional Korean natural dying process. Converging modernity with tradition, the piece also serves to deliver the message of how experiences accumulate and shape a person’s personality. Even though the dying technique was used to color fabrics, the designer has used it to stain the finishing material used in furniture which also gives the piece a unique perspective.
The technique also allows his designs to feature an innovative and unique finish while helping find a meaningful purpose for discarded tree bark that would have otherwise been thrown away, burnt or used as mulch. The finish also allows the furniture designer to save a bundle on texturized exterior finishes and chemical based stains.