Making A Stand

The Return of Forests

Making A Stand will be a striking large-scale installation cited in Copenhagen, offering joyful encounters and reminders of the incredible possibilities of trees. They are vital to every part of life, yet their role is often misunderstood.

How we find, use and treat our wood can help care for our woodlands and look after the plants, animals and fungi that rely on them too.

If you are to learn one thing from this story, it is to look after our timber and spread this message wide and far.

You can find further research links at the end if this story inspires you.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a forest. Clouds moving in the background and wildlife moving around the trees.

Working Together

Trees in a woodland work together, like a single organism, to stay strong and healthy. Their crowns keep each other protected from the wind, and their roots share nutrients and protect them from disease.

Fungi stretch out their mycelium between the roots, transferring nutrients and electric signals to warn the others of pests and diseases. Through this network, the older trees with larger canopies can share their resources with the saplings to give them the best chances of growing to their potential too.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a forest with two trees working together and swaying in the wind. A network of lines showing mycelium is connecting between the to trees' roots.

Absorbing Carbon

We need these woodlands to help stop our planet from overheating.

As trees grow, the leaves absorb carbon dioxide with the help of sunlight. Turning the carbon into even more branches, leaves, and a bigger trunk. This process is called photosynthesis and releases oxygen to help us breathe.

The carbon dioxide stays out of the atmosphere for as long as the branches, leaves and trunk exist (these are what we call ‘biomass’). Here, it stays in the form of carbon particles.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a cross section of a douglas fir branch. The sun is shining and carbon dioxide is being absorbed, then oxygen is released into the air and carbon moves down the branch to the rest of the tree.

Old Trees

As trees grow older, they grow less, just like us. By cutting down the trees at the point they start to age, they have had time to absorb a large amount of carbon dioxide. This wood can be used in buildings that look after it, keeping the carbon within the timber.

The extra space means more trees can grow - with even more carbon dioxide being absorbed. In forestry terms, for every tree felled, at least three or even five are grown in its place. Covering our land in greenery and helping reduce global warming.

To select the trees for the installation, we work with the sawmill, knowledgeable foresters and timber organisations so the woodland and its wildlife can continue to thrive for years to come.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a mature, tall douglas fir tree being felled as a chainsaw cuts through the base. A stump is left behind and five new trees start growing around it. More carbon dioxide is now being absorbed and oxygen released.

Timber for the win!

Timber has a much smaller carbon footprint than other common building materials. This graph imagines the carbon footprint of Making A Stand’s main components if they were made using concrete, steel or aluminium instead. As you can see, it is a big difference.

The timber in Making A Stand will have absorbed lots of carbon dioxide over its lifespan, mitigating against what has been released into the atmosphere from the processing of the material. On the assumption that it is lovingly reused and continues its useful life for a further 60 years, the carbon footprint can be lowered substantially.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a bar chart showing the carbon footprint of four different building materials; timber, concrete, steel and aluminium. The timber bar shows -22,000 kgCO2, there is also a dotted bar without carbon storage of 1100 kgCO2. The concrete bar shows 40,000 kgCO2. The steel bar shows 100,000 kgCO2. The aluminium bar shows 75,000 kgCO2.

Circular Economy

We need to use our timber for as long as possible without burning it or letting it decay. Otherwise, these processes release the carbon dioxide it has absorbed back into the air.

This is why the timber in Making A Stand will remain large, offering a world of creative possibilities for their next life after the installation. It can be re-used again and again to reduce waste.

There’s lots of potential for what happens next to the materials being used in Making A Stand. Rather than becoming a waste product, the ambition is that materials won’t be recycled, but instead be put back into the supply chain to be repurposed where possible.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a circular economy diagram. It starts with Making A Stand then the timber is reused as a treehouse then it is reused as a playground then back again.

Looking After Our Timber

Trees are integral to human life. Through the air that we breathe, the weather that we feel, the buildings that we inhabit, the food that we eat and the nature that we enjoy. Without them, our world would be a far more difficult place to live.

It is a material with so many opportunities and chances of re-use. A material that benefits the planet whilst it grows. A material that has the power to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the air.

If we look after our timber, we look after our woodlands, and we look after ourselves.

Video description: Black line animated stop motion of a forest and sawmill. Trunks are collected and sawn into planks. The planks are used to build houses which start with a timber frame then are clad. Part of the forest is growing in the background. One of the houses is disassembled and the timber is used to build a playground.