Sound Design

Maurício Lobo

Design & Production

ZÜNC Studio

We collaborated with research and innovation company SPACE10 on a speculative design project that aims to encouraging furniture circularity through the blockchain. Carbon Banks investigates how people treat everyday objects, and whether they may be incentivised to have a more sustainable relationship with their furniture - through generative digital assets.

The project imagines how a physical, wooden chair could be connected to a generative digital asset on the blockchain to create an emotional bond that would incentivise us to keep, repair, trade, and recycle our furniture.

We designed and produced this digital asset in the form of a tree, which grows with the age of the chair. The longer the chair is kept and cared for, the wilder, lusher, and more unique the tree would grow. Our visuals were inspired by key findings from an extensive white paper by WINT Design Lab. Together with SPACE10 and Bakken&Bæck, we crafted a visual narrative to present the research project on a dedicated microsite.

A key technical challenge was figuring out how to animate the tree from a seed to its full form. We designed this big, intricate tree with many different branching systems and leaf types, and then needed to animate the growth it in a specific order.

After some research, we developed a workflow that meant we could design and animate the tree in one software - Speedtree - which led to a relatively smooth design and animation process. 

We landed on a ‘grafted’ look with a mix of species that had some kind of symbolic association with the values and processes associated with the concept. The ferns that unfurl after the repair of the leg are based on the ‘resurrection fern’, which felt appropriate.

Pine needles were digitally pruned to resemble bonsai arrangements, a practice of care and patience. And there’s a branch with oak leaves, a nod to the oak veneer of the FRÖSET chair used in the film.

After the chair is returned for recycling, the tree bursts into bloom during its end of life period. We took inspiration from the balsa tree, which can sense when it is dying and uses its last remaining energy to produce a spectacular amount of flowers.