"Make a table out of a table." That was the assignment Marjan van Aubel got two years ago while studying at London's Royal College of Art. So she chopped up an Ikea table and started playing mad scientist with the wood shavings. When she mixed them with bioresin—a plant-based sap—and a little water, the concoction reacted like a volcano in a school science fair. "It just started bubbling up," she says. "I was able to make seven tables out of one table."
With her design partner, James Shaw, van Aubel is now using the technique to make the Well Proven Chair. For each one, the duo pours the sawdust-resin blend into an open mold, hand-packs it in, and holds the chair legs upright in place while the mixture foams up and hardens around them.
Because van Aubel and Shaw are growing their product from what would otherwise be garbage (between 50% and 80% of the wood used in furniture manufacturing becomes waste) and need little machinery to do so, it's a low-impact product. That's attracted new business, such as restaurants in London, and an architect in Amsterdam who will work with van Aubel to grow bricks from the same material.