Pine trees are the world’s main source of timber and every year 600 million pine trees are cut down in the EU alone. Latvian designer Tamara Orjola is using the parts of the tree that usually just get tossed aside while harvesting wood. Orjola creates biodegradable textiles, stools and carpets made of nothing but pine needles. Her project, 'Forest Wool', gives new life to a by-product of the timber industry using tried-and-true manufacturing techniques like crushing, soaking, steaming and pressing.
Eindhoven-based Latvian designer Tamara Orjola researched the potential for the billions of needles left over from the timber industry. She found the dry sharp leaves to be a great alternative for all kinds of fibers including cotton and coir. She transforms them into paper, textiles and composites boards that she then uses for making furniture. The result is an elegant series of no-screw and no-glue stools and carpets that are biodegradable and compostable.
Turning pine needles into a new raw material for diverse applications takes a few steps but each step is a standard manufacturing technique, so there is no special process required. The steps include collecting, drying, crushing, soaking, steaming, carding, binding and pressing pine needles for tactile, scented designs.
‘Forest Wool’ is currently on show at the Design Academy of Eindhoven graduate show, held as part of Dutch Design Week 2016 at the ‘Dutch City of Light’.
Photos by Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat and Tamara Orjola