Designed and fabricated by moss, our new conference table is constructed of materials sourced from within 150 miles of Chicago (150-mile table didn’t have as nice of a ring). All over the world trees are being felled to clear space for agriculture and produce all kinds of wood and paper products. As recent as 2005, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that over 13 million hectares of forest are removed every year. Domestically we have managed to wipe out almost all virgin forests east of the Mississippi River in just 400 years.
A quick survey of google aerial photos shows a horrifying landscape of green space pockmarked by brown clear cuts. The elimination of trees causes untold damage to the ecosystem including loss of animal habitat, increase in greenhouse gas emissions, decrease in water quality, and soil erosion. Even fish are effected by the removal of forests. As examined by Carl Safina in Song for a Blue Ocean, the removal of trees along Oregon’s Columbia River have caused a decrease in salmon by adversely effecting riparian landscapes, food sources, and water quality. Unfortunately, these environmental impacts are rarely reflected in the price to consumers of virgin wood products.
The use of reclaimed wood products, specifically as building materials, can help mitigate environmental degradation while providing an intriguing story. In the conference table’s case, the table top planks are reclaimed Elm from a demolished barn in Cambridge, IL and were planed and assembled at moss HQ in Chicago. The steel legs, custom designed by moss, were fabricated by a local metalsmith in Pilsen.