The mountain pine beetle is chewing its way through Canadian forests. According to this Alberta website,
MPB kills pine trees by clogging and destroying the conductive tissue of the tree by introducing a blue-stain fungi when attacking the tree. Its larvae feed in the phloem of the tree. The action of blue-stain fungi and larval feeding can kill the tree within one month of the attack.
But the wood is still good, and according to University of Alberta design student Adam Nunn, who worked on the chair with the blue metal frame they call Neil, the blue stained wood is actually harder than the natural pine part. He and his fellow students designed a series of chairs to show how this wood can be used. They write:
Outbreaks of the mountain pine beetle have been seen across western North America, with the beetle infestations destroying wide areas of the pine forest. We aim to raise awareness of the crisis by working with the wood to create a suite of products or furniture to display to members of the design industry that are always looking for new materials and opportunities... While we know that this is no solution to the larger problem and merely a drop in the ocean, we would encourage others to get involved with the material and hopefully create a domino effect.
Indeed, it is just a drop in the ocean. I don't know why they aren't building a giant cross-laminated timber factory and start churning out CLT houses for Fort McMurray or even standard panel sizes that could be warehoused, instead of letting the stuff rot. We need more of this.