For my final degree project at Umea Institute of Design, I presented Axolotl. This project was done in collaboration with 9 northern Swedish forestry companies. My focus for this project was to gain a wealth of knowledge and insight into an unfamiliar industry that I could use to generate a conceptual concept that would provoke the Cluster of companies and help them to think towards the future of forestry and its environmental impacts.
" This design is the best research project we've seen from the New Zealand entries because Nick has not only produced a beautiful, well resolved design, but he has gone a step further and widely engaged with the international forest industry "
- David Lovegrove / Head Judge / Dyson Award NZ
What is Axolotl all about

In nature the word waste does not exist, when a leaf falls it offers its nutrients to the next generation of flora and fauna. Nature can inspire the forest industry with minimal adaption...all we need to do is give something back.

This project evolved from understanding why our forests are decreasing & why we are failing to maintain them, while searching for opportunities to help influence the forest industry into a more sustainable practice. 

We heavily rely on timber as a resource, & one that we will increasingly demand in the future as we phase out fossil fuels & implement alternative energy sources. Instead of directing this project in a “save the rainforest” protest, I opted for a realizable & commercially viable solution. This would increase the possibilities that the research & concept could become a viable solution that would equally benefit the forestry industry & the forest.
How Axolotl works

In the past we have never been able to separate a tree on site, this requires various return visits to collect what we need, leading to soil compaction & extensive damage to surrounding trees. With Axolotl, we can now separate a tree onsite & return its nutrients to ensure surrounding trees & seedlings remain healthy, while promoting natural regeneration. 

In one single operation, Axolotl cuts a selected tree at ground level, avoiding exposed stumps. It then feeds the tree into its body where it is separated. The needles are returned to enrich the soil, while the branches are bundled into a “bio-log” that can be easily collected, when collecting the trunk, & then used instantly as an alternative energy fuel.

This technique seizes the traditional way of harvesting and points the future of tree harvesting in an environmentally friendly & sustainable direction.