For several years Studio Associate Professor Paul Pettigrew and his students in his Furniture and Architecture course have sought creative uses for damaged or naturally-felled urban trees, rather than the mulch or firewood for which they are typically recycled. In 2008 furniture and other creations made from wood recovered from trees infested with the emerald ash borer beetle were on display at Morton Arboretum and numerous public awareness exhibitions before they were distributed to various state and federal agencies for permanent display.
Pettigrew’s project attracted the attention of the Crate & Barrel chain of contemporary home stores, who now offer reclaimed ash tables through their CB2 stores in an exclusive collaboration. Working with Erika and Bruce Horigan, co-founders of Horigan Urban Forest Products, Pettigrew’s “Chop Chop” tables offer buyers a unique, sustainable choice when furnishing their homes. The pieces are milled and fabricated in Chicago using reclaimed local ash trees for the Northbrook-based retailer, minimizing the the carbon footprint between tree source, mill and production.
The Giving Tree Project, a proposal based on the research he conducted through his course, also recently earned Pettigrew a finalist spot in the 2010 MIT Enterprise Forum Whiteboard Challenge.