While researching on wood infections and parasite treatments, I run into extraordinary images of termite colonies. The complexity of their structures and the unique architectural vocabulary stuck into my mind as a designer’s infection. Termites build their colonies with mud, sawdust and a type of organic glue made from their saliva. Very similar to the materials, that our human makers traditionally use for buildings and furniture. A conceptual question was brought to life. What would be the outcome of a termite colony settled on a piece of furniture? How could I translate parasitic growth on a chair with contemporary materials? After experimenting with expansive resins, sawdust, earth and other organic residue, I discovered that when one mixes polyurethane glue with different kinds of aggregates, the growth and strength of the finished product varies in form, texture and properties. By combining my prototype experiments and byproducts I was able to put together a chair composed of up-cycled wooden furniture legs, sawdust produced by the manufacturing process and dirt from the workshop floor. The leather-upholstered seat was introduced on the finished structure as a notion of human conformity vs organic growth.
Designer: Zach Stathopoulos