Support Long-term Thinking
Support Long-term Thinking

Living furniture

by Stephanie Gerson on July 28th, 02007

Arborsculpture, a term coined by Richard Reames, “is the art of shaping trees trunks. It is often accomplished by framing, bending, grafting and pruning. [sic] Using one or many trees guided into pre designed shapes, functional or artistic, to remain living or to be harvested” (Reames).

Arborsculptors engage in a very slow ‘sculpting’ of trees trunks into shapes desirable in the future (as well as urban greening and carbon sinking). Reames writes, “I believe that live trees can replace many of the things we normally kill trees to make. Garden furniture, gazebos, bridges, fences and fence posts are just some of the things I have been able to replace with living trees. The benefits are numerous, such as shade in the winter and sun in the summer, no paint required and instead of rotting they just get bigger every year while sequestering C02.”

His website features beautiful photographs of arborsculpture worldwide, Axel Erlandson’s Tree Circus, and Reames’s book on the subject, playing with Frances Moore Lappe’s title with his own: “Arboriculture: Solutions for a Small Planet.” A small sampling:

Axel Erlandson
Axel Erlandson underneath an exhibit from his Tree Circus near Santa Cruz, California.

Tree Man
A “Dancing Pooktre” in Queensland, Australia. This tree is alive.

Ficus House
A ficus house in Okinawa, Japan. This tree is also alive.

Toilet Paper Tree
Another ficus turned “Plantware.” Again, alive. Now if only the leaves were used as toilet paper…

(Images from