The Idea of a Tree


Designboom presents cool things from the DMY Design Festival in Berlin. Nominees for the DMY Award include the Idea of a Tree from Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler.

it is a machine that "starts producing when the sun rises and stops when the sun settles down. After sunset, the finished object can be ‘harvested’."

A tree is a product of its specific time and place. It reacts and develops according to its surrounding and constantly records various environmental impacts in its growth process. Each single tree tells its own story of development.

The goal of 'the idea of a tree'- project was to bring the recording qualities of a tree and its dependence on natural cycles into products.

It slowly grows the object, by pulling threads through a colouring device, a glue basin and finally winding them around a mould.

The length/height of the resulting object depends on the sun/hours of the day. The thickness of the layer and the colour is depending on the amount of sun-energy. (more sun = thicker layer and paler colour; less sun=thinner layer and darker colour) -


This correlation between input and output makes the changes visual and readable.
Each produced object represents one day at one spot where it was produced.


The 'bench tioat' is one outcome of the 'the idea of a tree' project, which uses solar energy to translate the luminosity of the sun into one object a day.
The bench is a souvenir of its day and place of creation. The thickness of the layer and its colour intesity refer directly to the sun. Dark and thin parts result from little sun, bright and thick areas result from lots of sun.


What a neat idea. A solar powered machine that records in a design the varying output of the sun, much like a tree records the climate in the thickness of its rings.

Mischer'traxler: The Idea of a Tree, via Designboom

The Idea of a Tree
it is a machine that "starts producing when the sun rises and stops when the sun

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