It is important to remember where things came from. Recently I came across this work by the Swiss artist, Vincent Kohler. In this image, we are reminded that wood floors do not come from a box... We are further reminded that cutting a tree into small shapes such as flooring strips, while part of the manufacturing process that supplies beautiful floors, is only a part of the story. Kohler's art allows us to glimpse the deeper truth—that our floors are part of the broader landscape that is home to numerous forms of life.

Artwork: Title Billon by Vincent Kohler Front View
Artwork: Title Billon by Vincent Kohler Side View


Polystyrene Resin
110 x 100 x 300 cm
Collection of the Cantonal Fond d'art contemporain, Geneva
Credit: Geoffrey Cottenceau

Let's do the math. Assume a typical tree, 40-60 years or older, can yield about 150-250 board feet of lumber. A board foot is a timber industry measurement term that means a piece of lumber that is 12 inches by 12 inches by 1 inch or 144 square inches. So, a mature tree yielding 150-250 BF means that the tree should produce approximately 300-500 square feet of 1/2" thick, solid plank board surface.

Thin surfaces such as veneered planks, like engineered hardwoods, will generate a higher yield of flooring, 500-1,000sf of surface, at 1/4" veneer thickness. Of course, the underlying sub-layer still comes from somewhere but usually of less valuable stock. Many variables influence output, and experts may argue assumptions, but it is nonetheless a useful exercise to connect the dots. One tree = flooring for a 10' x 50' room.

Artists do us a favor when they remind us that the things we consume come from beyond the store shelf. This awareness requires us to be mindful that we have an impact on the environment with everything that we consume. Wood floors look beautiful, are durable, and long-lasting. The message here is simply to be mindful. promotes mindful shopping with appropriate product attribution regarding environmental health and safety accreditation of the products we sell; and, the majority of our suppliers support this approach with a solid awareness program of their own.