Roots by Kai Linke


Cologne 2010: Frankfurt designer Kai Linke is working on a project to grow furniture from plant roots.

Linke explained the project, called Roots, at the Dezeentalks at [D3] Design Talents in Cologne last week; his experiments so far involve cultivating fast-growing plants such as grass, cress, bulbs and bamboo and chanelling their roots into a miniature chair-shaped mould.

Once the roots have completely filled the mould it is removed, leaving a scale model of a piece of furniture.

This exploration is the first stage of a long term project, which Linke hopes will result in a full size chair made of roots.

We'll post the movies from the Dezeentalks soon, including Linke interviewed by Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs.

See all our stories about Cologne 2010 in our special category.

Here's some more information from Linke:


Roots By Kai Linke

The idea referring to this concept arises out of the abstract conflict of deformations in nature.

Deformations can be caused by human hand consciously or by coincidence.

The intervention of humans into the growth of a plant can be described as deformation.

The human is the activator for a modified plant-growth. The plant is disturbed to develop itself in a natural way.

In different trials with help of grass, cress, bulbs, bamboo and hyacinths the rooting-growths was analysed.

The roots were channelled into shapes in different culture mediums until they filled those shapes completely.

After the roots have conquered the whole space – similar to a plant in a pot that is too small – the shape has been taken away.

Remaining are the roots, formed into the shapes of stools and tables.

The material wood, in this case root wood is forced already during it’s growth into a desired shape and not as usual by human deforming of the outside to the material into the desired shape.

This concept is depending a natural circumstance such as: weather, water dung, potting soil and the paste in which the root fills the form.

The above-mentioned plant groups are suitable for trials in smaller measures. In a long-term experiment – that will be going on for years – trials will be observed in a measure of 1 by 1. Result out of this will be the “Root Chair”.

Posted on Friday January 29th 2010 at 4:04 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • LOW

    Chia furniture

  • portionspread

    yeah ok. show us when it’s done.

  • Thank you gravity. This is a rather fantastic little idea, I hope the experiment turns out well!

  • KaptnK

    awesome. crazy. It’d be incredible if it could be made to work. I’m doubtful though since you can’t have a box entirely filled with roots, some earth is required!

  • kwil

    Whatever ya think

  • :)

    Resembles traditional foot deformation existent in China 110 years ago.

  • Ok, it’s interesting. But why always making FURNITURE? There could be so much more opportunity using the same principle. Why every time someone design a new process, it has to be applied to a chair?

  • Booh

    Lets just not beat around the bush and just fill furniture with spaghetti? Can I get published on Deezen for that? meh? Meh?

  • This is pretty crazy/ingenious! Imagine the root ball shaped like the useful object ie chair, and then when the plant has exhausted itself, the dirt is washed away leaving this gnarled useful object. In death the roots become something preplanned. I don’t see the difference of say growing a fir tree in a forrest in order to chop it down for lumber, except you remove about a million manufacturing steps to get the end object by doing it this way. Brilliant.