This range of outdoor furniture uses recycled rice hulls that outperform wood


Michigan-based furniture manufacturing company Grand Rapids Chair Company has unveiled a lasting addition to its repertoire of custom chairs and tables. The Bowen Collection is a classically framed table with a twist – its top surface material is made from an ultra-durable blend of recycled rice hulls that would otherwise have gone to waste.

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This agricultural by-product of rice growing, called acre, actually holds up better than traditional wood, according to the company. Acre mimics the style of wood while providing improved weather, pest, water and UV resistance. It is also guaranteed not to rot, crack or break. Acre is extremely lightweight and free of phenol, formaldehyde, and adhesives that could give off potentially harmful VOC gases.

Related: Designer Lucas Couto Joins Precious Plastic For Recycling Project

An overhead view of a black table surrounded by white chairs.

The company’s seasoned designers, Tim Stoepker and Sara Gesink, are responsible for the aesthetics of the collection. “We landed on the picnic style slat design which we thought spoke really well to the community and the feel of a picnic table, but high end,” Gesink said in describing the design process. “With the hoop leg, he could visually fit inside in different environments rather than going on a picnic with the leg,” added Stoepker. Tables are made locally at the Grand Rapids plant with rice hulls produced in Mississippi to minimize the company’s carbon footprint.

On the left, two people standing at a table.  To the right, a square patio table.

Buyers can choose from three heights for the Bowen table, including dining, countertop, and bar sizes, as well as pedestal and common designs that come in 11 different stain colors. In addition, the steel base for the pedestal design is available in 150 different powder coatings. For those who want to use their table in a very sunny area, there is an option to add an umbrella hole that will fit any standard size umbrella in the center. Prices start at $ 1,006 for the pedestal table and $ 2,507 for the communal table.

+ Grand Rapids chair company

Photograph by Dean Van Dis

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