Michigan-based furniture manufacturing company Grand Rapids Chair Company has unveiled a sustainable addition to its repertoire of personalized chairs and tables. The Bowen Collection is a classically framed table with a twist — its top surface material is made using an ultra-durable blend of upcycled rice hulls that would have otherwise gone to waste.
This agricultural byproduct of rice farming, called acre, actually holds up better than traditional wood, according to the company. Acre mimics the style of wood while providing upgraded weather, pest, water and UV damage resistance. It’s also guaranteed not to rot, crack or splinter. Acre is extremely lightweight and free from phenol, formaldehyde and adhesive that could off-gas into potentially harmful VOCs.
Veteran designers for the company, Tim Stoepker and Sara Gesink, are responsible for the collection’s aesthetic. “We landed on the picnic style slat design which we felt really spoke well to the community and the togetherness aspect of a picnic table, but higher end,” said Gesink while describing the design process. “With the hoop leg, it could visually fit inside in different environments versus going picnic style with the leg,” added Stoepker. The tables are manufactured locally in the Grand Rapids facility with rice hulls produced in Mississippi to minimize the company’s carbon footprint.
Buyers can choose between three heights for the Bowen table, including dining, counter and bar sizes, as well as pedestal and communal designs that come in 11 different stains colors. Additionally, the steel base for the pedestal design comes in 150 different powder coats. For those interested in using their table in an area that gets a lot of sun, there’s an option for adding an umbrella hole that fits any standard-sized umbrella in the center. Prices start at $1,006 for the pedestal table and $2,507 for the communal table.
Photography by Dean Van Dis