Fallen Tree Seating Project + IIDA BEST Awards 2024

CS Woods was selected for The Fallen Tree Seating project, composed of four whole tree trunk seating structures in the newly opened Habitat Gardens, after having completed a boardroom table for the Denver Botanic Gardens. Made to look and feel like a part of the natural environment, they are created from huge local Denver Honey Locust trees that were urban reclaimed during a planned removal and donated to the project by the City of Denver. 

Of the four fallen tree seating structures, two are located along the elevated Birds and Bees Walk and the Pollinators Plaza. Another is placed at a perfect vantage point to take in the Lower Willow Garden, while the final trunk rests in the gateway to the Himalayan Garden. 

By creating a space easily reclined into, this structure encourages the human to stop, sit a moment, enter a state of comfort and take in their surroundings. Possibly even close their eyes, lay back and listen.

Our woodworkers and design team collaborated with the landscape architect and the Botanic Gardens to develop an ideal minimalist shape for each of the seating pieces. Merging sustainability and beauty as a single, integrated design ethos, each trunk was evaluated and an individual design created.  At our Southern Colorado woodshop they were put through a short but important kiln drying process, carefully removing some of the residual water to minimize future movement. 

Through thoughtful leveling, hand shaping and sanding we maintained the organic, curving natural characteristics of the trees while enhancing the flattened seating area and engineering for structural safety. Our installation team brought the huge seating structures into the Gardens and craned them into place onto our custom-designed invisible support system.

The custom designed mounting structures.

Because they invite enthusiastic play, the structures must be ready to endure the forces thereby created. We ensured that although the rounded trunks meet with the ground in a way that looks “fallen”, they are also mounted such that movement is impossible. Kids and adults alike are on a safe and secure surface even when launching joyfully into the air from one end. 

The natural wood seating invites patrons to gather and rest, climb and conquer, or simply exist for a moment taking in the passage of time and surrounded by nature. Several structures are ADA accessible.  The Garden is a symphony of growth, decline and renewal, and structures placed within it play a vital role in continuing this story. Much of the Habitat Garden structure is designed to age and evolve. These fallen trees will weather with winter snow and Colorado’s spectacular sunshine, continuing their remarkable story.

Loading in the benches was a long and fun process!

We submitted this project for the 2024 IIDA BEST Awards! We were very excited to be included in such incredible company. See the IIDA BEST AWARDS 2024.

Process photos including the base structure of the tree benches as well as moving them into place.

At CS Woods, we blend the beauty of specialty wood with the mastery of craftsmanship, creating custom pieces that evoke emotions, spark conversations, and stand the test of time. We prioritize excellence in every aspect of our process,

from sourcing the finest materials to delivering exceptional customer experiences. Through our dedication to storytelling and fostering connections, we strive to leave a lasting legacy of beauty, artistry, and meaningful connection in every piece
we create.

Our products are renewable, sustainable, carbon negative, recyclable, and 100% biodegradable, ensuring a steward- ship that future generations can rely on.

Denver trees arriving at the CS Woods Denver Warehouse.
June 27, 2024 — Alana Mace