Before the artisans began working with the tree roots themselves, our entire team worked together to create the theme and design aesthetic of the Phoenix Collection. Since each table would be made from a consistent part of a whole root of a Sucupira, it was necessary to retain the original, natural complexity of the forms. So, in the field, workers used a large machine with a long arm to topple the trees with such force that, when they fell, the roots would remain intact. All parts of each tree were then harvested and organized so that no branches or roots would go waste.
Next, the roots chosen for the tables were transported by truck the five hundred miles from the farm in Mato Grosso to the city of Estiva Gerbi, where cleanup began. Before making this transfer, we got approval and certificates from IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), ensuring our whole process was in keeping with the strict environmental requirements of Brazil.
In Estiva Gerbi, Adriana and Lucas and the other artisans spent hours, sometimes days, contemplating each root, letting each unique form “speak” to them. Once a piece was identified for development, the artisans used tractors to move it into place, then took the slice of root that would make the most appropriate and beautiful table. At this stage, they also determined what type of base would be appropriate for the final design.
In these ways, each root informed the design of the table it became, rather than the design being imposed upon the root.
Each future tabletop was then put into a tank containing select envioronmentally friendly chemicals to ensure that no insects remained in the wood. The past work of these insects was, in most cases, responsible for the eventual design of the piece!
Each table was then planed by hand, the artistans taking great care that the top was perfectly level and stable. Next began the extensive work of finishing and polishing, making each piece perfectly smooth. Finally, the artisans applied four coats of finish, making each table impermeable while maintaining as many of the original characteristics as possible.
Overall, our team’s creation process focused on making each piece of root into a functional table that will double as a point of attraction in a room, emphasizing that the space is to be used for sharing and collaboration.
In each table, the spirit of the Sucupira tree remains intact, embodying the great old Brazilian plantation, the changeover to new ventures, the complexity and vigor of the natural world, and the great realm of possibilities and dreams come to life.