Philip Junk

Topic: Being aware of the trees that sorround us

After seeing this post on Instagram, I realized the absurdity of constantly using wood as a material and at the same time being unaware of trees as organisms with a huge variety of different species. We sit next to a tree and usually aren’t able to tell which kind of tree it is. When we see a car approaching us, we can tell which brand it is from a distance of 100 meters.

I’m still not sure in which direction to go so I explored a couple of ideas.

Idea No.1: Being aware of the surrounding trees by sitting on their bark

We are constantly surrounded by wood in a variety of forms. In many cases it is heavily processed and isn’t really recognizable as an organic material anymore.

Therefore the idea is to give park benches a new surface: bark of the same species of trees, that surround the bench. This way you can sit down on it and feel the structure of the bark.

Though the concept might be stronger, of I’d use the bark of the wood that the bench was made of, there are a couple of problems that come along with this approach.

First, I have to admit: I probably won’t be able to figure out which wood was being used for the bench

Second: I’d like to person sitting down to connect the bark with a living tree. That might be easier if there’s the same tree in his view


Idea No.2:

Mapping the trees of an area and building a three dimensional map with the bark of the different species

The map gives a haptic experiences of the environment and lets us experience the trees from a different perspective


Short experiment: Bark as the metaphorical packaging of wood


Short experiment: Fixing




Final idea: Bringing back the bark into everyday objects

Both of the short experiments above lead me to this concept. I examined which items I used in one day and later threw away. All of those who contained a more or less processed form of wood got back some of their bark. This way, I’m able to feel the original material, a living tree.



  1. If I understand you properly then this is about how we process a tree and how those processes turn the organism into a material. You focused on the structure of the bark since the bark is something that we usually get rid off first. The bark reminds us that there is an inside and an outside to this organism, it indicates its original shape and resembles some sort of skin. I think you are up to something here. Yet somehow the bark bench still seems a little oversimplified. One might think that this is just a cute “rustic look”. How could one further carve out (pun intended) your original thoughts?

    1. Hi Ralph,
      thanks for the input. Unfortunatley every idea I come up with is even more blunt. I’m going to do a couple of short experiments and see where it gets me.

  2. Maybe you start with a systematic formal approach by taking a raw piece of a tree and turn it step by step into wood. Or maybe you just dig a little into techniques carpenters use, in particular how they sometimes integrate the “natural” grown shapes into furniture design.
    I also find the bark packaging idea interesting. What if you played around with it, maybe turned it inside out (with the bark on the inside of the shape). It might be interesting to just stick with wood and not use a tin can here.
    Maybe you should just spend a day at the wood workshop and play around. 🙂

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