PineSkins, as the name suggests, is the skin of a Pine tree. We never hear about it because the pine bark is a by-product of the tree cutting industry. Being one of the most industrialized trees in the northern hemisphere the pine tree is mostly known for its cheap timber. My challenge as a designer is to give a new value to this leftover material through design.
The Pine tree bark differs from traditionally used tree bark - a pine tree would die without its bark. Therefore PineSkins uses the tree cutting industry as a context to source bark. Furthermore, in order to become a flexible material, the freshly harvested pine bark is treated with a bio-softening solution turning it into a soft, leather-like material. Afterwards, the bark is enhanced with color pigments and coated with a bee’s wax, which keeps the bark completely natural. Such designing approach has never been applied to this kind of a tree and thus it has become a unique material with a high familiarity factor immediately connecting to its’ viewers.
The designer envisions the bark in everyday objects and interior with unique aesthetics inspired by the lines and forms from forests.
It is important that the material defines its' final shape and function and therefore is designed in a controlled / uncontrolled way while also challenging the existing stereotypes of traditional bark products. For example, what if instead of an animal-skin carpet there a tree-skin carpet?
By adding extra information to the products such as the context and age of the tree, the user can feel more connected to the bark product. Thus the bark becomes a living extension of the tree long after the tree has been cut and utilised.
Besides reusing the pine tree bark, the designer experiments with mixing the leftovers of the bark together with the pine resin and bioplastics thus creating a pliable mass that can be moulded into different shapes.