As a child, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree was a somber reminder of how much trees give us and how little we give back. Wood and paper are ubituquos materials in our society– but they can be harvested responsibly. There are likely no viable replacements for wood or paper, but many artists and designers have created works that highlight the role of trees (and their by-products) in our lives. This week we are featuring designs and products that made us ponder a little more deeply about the issues that surround tree by-products.

World Architecture News reports that a renovation in Japan left behind numerous wood columns, creating a forest-like appearance in an otherwise modern apartment.

Fresh Home shares Alexander Pelikan’s Plastic Nature chairs that juxtapose old-fashioned wood with its modern rival, plastic.

Notcot features a snippet of Patrick Dougherty’s famous — and ephemeral — installations made of tree branches.

Ecopreneurist points us in the direction of a rather ingenious Swedish company that produces environmentally-sensitive paper that will launch on Earth Day this year.

Re-nest features these PopMats Recycled Paper Placemats, available at Delight.