— WildHout — Bank
In 2019, Atelier NL produced a series of wooden benches made from trees that were uprooted in a huge storm that hit Eindhoven earlier that year. The Stormwood benches make practical use of these fallen trees when cut lengthwise into timber slats and stacked, utilizing small wooden pegs to create just enough space between them to allow the wood to dry. The end of each bench is printed with a unique number that identifies its species and where it used to stand in the city. Once dry, the planks will be repurposed. Until then, Atelier NL hopes for the benches to spark discussion about trees, forests, and their importance in our everyday lives.
Sit down on a bench and ponder some questions about Dutch forestry. Do you know where the wood comes from or the story of the tree that produced it?
It is impossible to know if global warming caused the storm that toppled nearly one-thousand trees, which will take years to replace. What we do know is that trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and use it to grow, storing carbon in their trunks and branches. How does this concern us? Stormwood re-evaluates our relationship to trees by questioning our everyday choices. Would you rather have a city full of cars or a city full of trees? As counterintuitive as it may seem, even in the forest it can be good to cut down trees. A large oak, for instance, is host to many plants and animals, but removing it frees up space for young trees that, together, absorb even more CO2. Made in collaboration with Coöperation Bosgroep Zuid Nederland, this project focuses on the importance of Dutch forestry, its various challenges, and the value of a deep-rooted connection with our local environment. There are currently a number of urgent challenges that forest management is faced with, which often remain hidden due to a lack of communication. By drawing attention to our immediate environment, the goal was to translate some of these concerns through design applications to stimulate curiosity and prompt discussion about the larger challenges surrounding forest management and the fascinating ways we can work with trees.