Biochemists Back 3D-Wood to Replace Plastics in Furniture!

High-end design furniture is 3D printed from bio-based, eco-friendly materials for aesthetic and sustainable home product options.

Fri 09 Feb 24


3D-printed timber composites are now utilised in high-end furniture products and sold throughout Europe.

It comes as scientists at MIT are working to develop “lab-grown” wood with custom shapes — with 3D-printed tech used to produce high-value wooden furniture on an industrial scale.

Now, Wood Central can reveal that Sulapac, a Finnish company founded by two biochemists determined to rid the furniture supply of plastics, is working with furniture start-up Ekbacken Studios to create wood-based materials using 3D-printing and biodegradable biopolymers.

The wood originates from industrial side streams, and in the future, it will also use recycled biopolymers. 

“It’s inspiring to see how seamlessly Sulapac material and Ekbacken’s contemporary designs play together,” according to Juho Luukkanen, Sulapac Sales Director, who said, “It’s a pleasure to work with another Nordic forerunner willing to challenge the status quo while fostering a culture of excellence.”

Established in 2016, Sulapac is working with a range of global brands, including Chanal, to ride supply chains of plastics and is increasingly turning to modified wood to provide a bio-based material alternative.

In September, Wood Central revealed that former MIT scientist Ashley Beckwith was creating customisable wood in labs from the cells of a flowering plant known as Zinnia elegans, popularly referred to as common zinnia.

Footage courtesy of @finitefuture.

According to Ms Beckwith, who in 2022 founded FORAY to commercialise the research, the findings “can reduce waste, increase yields and production rates, and reduce environmental disruption as cultures are generated from a non-sacrificial plant sample rather than whole plants.”

Foray claims that it can produce tree-free alternatives and superior supplies for traditionally tree-sourced goods – with improved yields, reduced processing requirements and the capacity for on-site production anywhere in the world.

Early anticipated markets include high-value rare wood products, like oils and resins.

Rather than cultivate and destroy an entire tree to yield as little as half a litre of usable product, Foray’s bioreactors will grow only the valuable parts.

“When we have this discrepancy in total plant matter versus target product, that’s where we can make a huge impact,” according to Ms Beckwith.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


Related Articles