Wood is a material loved by many designers and creators because of its natural beauty, its distinct texture, and its sustainability. The latter, however, doesn’t mean that there is no waste or damage to the planet involved, especially when the rate of use outpaces the rate of growth of trees. Wood is biodegradable, but it isn’t easily recyclable either. This is especially true for wood used during construction which often becomes useless after it has served its purpose. These tables, however, give new life to these discarded wooden beams, and they ironically take their inspiration and even their appearance from buildings made of stone and concrete.
Designer: Jongwon Lee
There are many ways to use wood in construction, but one of the most basic and most unappreciated types is PSL or Parallel Strand Lumber. These thick wooden beams are used as frames in architecture or interiors for walls. Their rough texture and raw appearance make them less ideal for any other purpose, and they’re often simply discarded when they’ve reached their end of life.
Primitive Structures is a table design that uses those exact same flaws and turns them into strengths and unique features. Every part of the table is made from used construction wood cut into uneven polygonal shapes. Discarded PSL wood often comes with holes made during construction, so these are filled with recycled wood chips to provide not only visual completeness but also structural safety.
The raw shapes of the legs and tops give the table a rather primitive character. Rather than hide the distinctive texture of PSL wood, they are made to stand out instead, making them resemble leaf veins or tiger stripes. This gives the table an almost stone-like appearance, and the arrangement of a slab sitting on top of tall stones is also reminiscent of ancient Korean dolmen or megalithic tombs. When the three-legged tables are stacked on top of each other, they even give the image of a Korean pagoda on a smaller scale.
Primitive Structures is an interesting design experiment on how an often ignored material can be re-recycled and down-cycled to produce something that almost looks like a piece of sculptural art. The tables’ primitive and stone-like forms exude a sense of power and strength, inspiring confidence in their use while also providing some peace of mind in knowing that this beautiful piece of furniture was made from the ground up to help heal the planet.