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Friday Follies: My, What Pretty Trees You Have!

For this week’s edition of Friday Follies I’m focusing on the work of Meyer Wells, a design firm recently featured in the New York Times.

Meyer Wells makes custom furniture and design pieces from trees that have been felled due to development, disease or weather. Their tagline is “furniture with modern roots” — har har! (Actually, I really dig that tagline).

Founded by Seth Meyer and John Wells in 2006, the Seattle-based business has actually thrived in a time when most business are doing quite the opposite. Rather than taking trees and unilaterally transforming them in to furniture that looks like it could have been cast from a mold, they play with the natural shapes and forms of the existing wood, finding a harmony between the piece they are trying to create and the material they are using to create it.

I feel like only a scrooge wouldn’t love the idea of transforming a felled tree in to something beautiful and functional. While there is a certain irony to pieces like the board room table below, mostly I think they’re just gorgeous pieces that a natural element often too lacking in the built environment.

Meyer and Wells happen upon their trees through different avenues, getting some from local arborists or working directly with contractors clearing a site prior to beginning construction.

Work like this tells a story. Not just the literal story that the table you are sitting at actually came from a tree — although there is that element too. From the NYT piece:

If there’s one rule in the shop, it’s this: Respect the tree’s narrative — including the chapters about its hard urban life. Mr. Meyer once found a steel snippet embedded in a beautiful cherry slab, perhaps a remnant of a nail used to hammer a “lost cat” sign to the tree. He left it in place, a piece of the story.

(All images via Meyer Wells)

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