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Waste Wood Transformed Into Furniture with Just One Simple Joint

Betula waste wood chair

Given a big box of identical birch slats and access to simple materials like string and rawhide, what would you build? What designer Martin Thübeck came up with in that scenario is pretty impressive, especially in terms of the different ways he assembled the parts. Using reclaimed wood from a local sawmill, Thübeck created “Betula,” a collection consisting of a dresser and a chair. He wanted to alter the pieces as little as possible to create functional furniture with the least amount of waste.

Betula joints close up

“The owner of the sawmill explained that roughly 70 per cent of all the logs that come to the facility is considered waste and gets burned,” Thübeck told Dezeen. “This inspired the idea to explore how the least amount of work could affect the value of the discarded material the most. So I developed a simple joint that could turn the waste into a building block, where all pieces have the same shape, creating infinite building possibilities.”

Betula waste wood dresser

The frame of the chair is tensioned with rawhide, another waste product Thübeck rescued from the trash, which also acts as the seat and back. He allowed it to dry and shrink around the frame to add strength. For the dresser, he used paper cord also made of birch, winding it into drawer fronts and sides. 

Betula waste wood dresser detail

Part of the designer’s intention with the project was finding a way to make uses for these waste materials that can also be changed in the future. Since the joints easily disassemble, the parts can be reused again later and turned into new objects. All of the components are biodegradable, too.


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