PineSkins is a material design project that looks at the current use of resources in forests with the aim to create more balanced methods and contexts in defining the future for trees. It is about creating alternative scenarios for those parts of the tree, that usually are left behind in the forest after the tree is gone, one of them being the bark. By using the existing tree-cutting industry as a platform to harvest the pine tree bark, Sarmite Polakova turns this by-product into a versatile, leather-like material.
In order to become flexible, the freshly harvested pine bark is treated with a bio-softening solution. Afterwards, it is enhanced with colour pigments and coated with wax, which keeps the bark natural and durable. The final product ranges from earthy brown to pink and to deep terracotta colours with a scent of wood. Such designing approach has never been applied to this kind of tree and thus it has become a unique material that feels familiar yet unseen. 'PineSkins' invites people to slow down, experience the tactility and smell of the forest. Its natural texture prickles the senses – especially when walking barefoot on the bark rug. The bark pattern does not reveal all of its variety at first sight, but a closer look adds an element of surprise to the experience.
The designer collaborates with other companies, architects and designers to implement PineSkins in various applications in interior and accessories. Furthermore, Sarmite Polakova continuously designs various interior objects herself to show the potential of the material. Her new collection will consist of vases, vessels and abstract shapes inspired by the lines and shapes of trees in forests.
Aside from PineSkins, the designer is experimenting with other by-products derived from the tree-cutting industry, such as resin and cellulose. With those, she aims to create new bio-materials that could become the new design norm and language to design with.
The bark is processed with a bio-softening solution that gives it a leather-like feeling.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Pine tree bark , bio-softening solution, natural wax
0076-1, 0076-2, 0076-3
Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab