Emily Carr students turn old growth wood salvaged from houses into furniture
When Vivian Tran saw the raw salvaged wood she thought it looked like garbage.
Removed from deconstructed old buildings and heritage homes in Metro Vancouver, the 2 x 4s were full of nails and nail holes. Some of the wood was covered in mud or discoloured. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
Tran, an industrial design student at Emily Carr University of Art + Design , had a difficult time seeing how the old growth Douglas fir wood in a lumber yard in Burnaby could be transformed into usable tables and benches.
“It really looked like it was rotting away,” she said.
Christian Blyt , associate professor, said students had to use salvaged wood to make a table and bench for four people that could fit into a residential elevator. Table and bench had to work together as a set and as stand alone pieces of furniture and be versatile enough for eating meals, working and playing.
One of the biggest challenges, he said, was facing up to the flaws in the wood. A guiding idea was wabi-sabi, a Japanese approach that accepts transience and imperfection.
“It was super challenging for the students,” he said.
Blyt said he also stresses the importance of making something that tells a story and engages with people.
He compared using salvaged wood with its nail holes and other flaws to furniture made of distressed wood which shows character.