The Canadian tree is one that lives many lives. For Canadians, our trees and wood are a valuable economic, cultural, social, environmental, symbolic, and historical asset to our country. With wood being one of the country’s largest and most profitable exports with a profit of $17 billion in net trade, trees are converted into pulp, paper, building material, furniture, and more.1
Boreal Forest. Photo courtesy of Greenpeace.
There are countless ways to use wood, with even more to consider when using recycled or reclaimed material. We live in a culture of consumerism, where we often exploit natural resources for economic gain without thinking about the gravity of such actions. To the consumer, it’s easy to overlook the amount of waste that results from harvesting and manufacturing.
Logging waste. Photo courtesy of Daniel Pierce.
Fortunately, there is a growing awareness of our ecological footprint, not only in wood production but also in agriculture and energy consumption. In an effort to combat the quantity of waste that comes from producing new material, studios like Brothers Dressler takes the initiative to design products using responsibly sourced materials. Brothers Dressler is a Toronto-based fabrication company that specializes in furniture and custom project design, using reclaimed and found materials as the foundation of their work. In their latest collection titled Trophies, the company used pieces of maple, ash, hickory, and walnut mounted onto oak plaques as a way of reappropriating the roots of trees found in rivers due to farming irrigation.2
This project incorporated all parts of the salvaged wood, using the ends of roots from a previous project called Root Tables. It's well known that Canadians have an expertise when it comes to making use of all parts, not letting any tree or bone go to waste.
The weathered roots are drastically unique in type, form, and size, and feature a customized oak plaque.
The contrast between the weathered, jagged, and raw wood upon the milled and varnished plaques is an interesting play on how our perception of the wood changes once it’s hung on the plaque. The role of the trophy wood is twofold; it was once grounded in the earth to prevent erosion and is now grounded on a plaque.
The refined grain of the oak offers a stunning background to the pieces, whose bark was worn in its resistance to the elements.
Although these pieces were unable to serve as functional pieces, they were given new life and take an interesting twist on wall ornament!
To see more hand-crafted woodwork using locally sourced materials, visit Brothers Dressler.
All photos courtesy of Brothers Dressler.
Did you enjoy this article? For more examples on the use of recycled materials, check out STACKLAB Design's A356.0 Series.
Propellor Design takes a raw approach on birch bark with their Ono Birch Light.
Sculptures Tremblay Ltd. plays up the wall with their craft with these Woodland Door Knockers.
This article was researched and written by Emily Suchy, Undergraduate Student of Architecture at the University of Toronto.