Imagine a bus shelter that grows extra-long roots for you to sit on and leafy greens as shade. Or a living playground made from trees?
These are the fantasies of Plantware, a company that aspires to make fixtures in the urban landscape from living, growing trees.
Plantware's approach in is known as tree shaping, arborsculpture, living art or pooktre. One famous pioneer in this area is Axel Erlandson from California who started shaping trees in 1925, and by the late 1940's opened up "The Tree Circus," a tourist attraction which has now been transplanted to an amusement park in Gilroy, California.
Here's a pic of Axel:
Says Plantware's CEO Gorden Glaze about his inspiration, "A fantasy about building houses from living trees, inspired by the ficus tree, whose roots create amazing forms. We discovered a way to control the direction in which a tree grows, which can be used to grow structures that will be useful and environmentally-friendly."
After consulting a root specialist and about $250,000 in investment Plantware is building prototypes in Australia, the US and Israel, where the company is headquartered. Some 10 employees form the company (since 2001); they are specialists biotech, art and industrial design. We can't wait to climb on one of their products.