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“Grow: Your own table” is a table that helps you grow its own legs over a couple of years. It questions where products come from and the value we give to objects. The table’s surface is a piece of machined bamboo, which serves as a base or pot for bamboo plants to grow.

When the table is acquired, it is only a flat surface of machined bamboo wood without any legs. The form of the surface also suggests that it has “grown”. The surface is laid on the ground, covered with earth and bamboo shoots are planted in it (figure 01).

The owner needs to care for the bamboo shoots. The roots grow and interlock within the woven and machined surface of the table under the earth (figure 02).

After many months, and likely close to two years, the bamboo plant grows tall and strong (figure 03). Four stems, the widest ones, are strong enough to hold the weight of the table. The owner needs to decide whether the wooden surface can keep acting as a plant pot and maintain the well looked-after bamboo plant alive…

…or, the owner can decide to prune the bamboo plant of all its leaves, essentially killing it, cut all the unnecessary stems and roots, trim the four strongest stems to the right length so that they can act as legs, and turn everything upside down to enjoy their new coffee table (figure 04)

The table debates where natural resources come from and whether if we grow them ourselves (and even have to kill them ourselves) we might have higher appreciation of the objects we own and use through a ‘slow design’ kind of process (like slow food).

Root samples were 3D scanned from multiple angles and then stitched together. From the 3D scanned roots, forms were developed to interlock the roots to the table.

The 3D models were machined in a CNC router to test the thickness and finishes that can be produced with bamboo plywood. The result is a three dimensional form that allows bamboo roots to interlock (figures 09, 10). Many machined samples to test forms into which the bamboo roots would interlock were produced (figure 15).

“Grow: Your Own Table” will be available for sale end of December 2011. It can be acquired at different stages of growth, or as a finished coffee table.

ps. This project has not been published on the web before.