Events

The Alder Project - How to understand forests

80% of all terrestrial species are living in forests, but the use of wood is unsustainable and monocultural. Our traditionally respectful and close connection to forests doesn’t concretise in practise. The Alder Project documents a zero-waste approach: how an alder tree can be cut down, researched and used for furniture while leftovers are processed as a new fibre-based biomaterial.
cutting down an alder tree in a green forest scenery with a bright summery sky
Photo: Saara Kantele

The forests and our relationship with them define our future living conditions and effects other species we’re sharing the planet with. 80% of all the terrestrial species are living in forests.

The way we cultivate and use wood is unsustainable and monocultural. The typical clearcutting method reduces the biodiversity of forests and turns the forest carbon storage into a carbon source for 20 years. Our traditionally respectful and close connection to forests does not concretise in practice.

The Alder Project is a deep dive to understand and research the tree as a being and material to be used in design practices. It's about understanding the forests first hand. 

During the process forest trips are made and documented, an alder tree is cut down, researched and used for furniture while leftovers are processed as a new fibre-based biomaterial. Wood is studied and used as a living Finnish tradition with new techniques.

The exhibition consists of three elements: 

  1. a video showing the journey of the tree 
  2. the furniture and item prototypes of new fibre-material and Finnish wood species 
  3. documentation on Forests trips and information gathered on Forests

600 000 Finns own forest. The climate, which forests stabilize, concerns the rest of us. The humane understanding of forests and more considered use of them is fatal for the generations to come to equally have the choice.

We have the possibility to save the fading biodiversity of versatile Finnish natural forests. By favouring diverse forest types and tree species while preserving older forests we can make a difference. Also, the by-product and waste fibres are a huge potential for a fibre-based material source. The understanding, aroused questions and conversations between people are the keys to building a balance between forests and the human race.

The project works also at a personal level, gathering both the knowledge and understanding one needs to work with forests. 

The Alder Project at Saara Kantele's web page
The team:

  • MA student, Thesis Researcher, Saara Kantele, Contemporary Design, Aalto University 

 

Saara Kantele-The Alder Project steps_photos-Saara Kantele and Eeva Suorlahti (bowl)
The Alder Project steps, photos: Saara Kantele & Eeva Suorlahti (bowl)

Hack our habitat

Aggressive urbanisation is straining our ecosystem. Rising construction volume causes massive demand for energy-intensive construction materials, and construction already accounts for 39 per cent of the global CO2 emissions.

Read more
Designs for a Cooler Planet Hack our Habitat
Designs for a Cooler Planet — Helsinki Design Week 2020
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