According to a 2021 Nature Conservancy report on the state of New York City’s urban forest, 7 million trees reside within the city’s boundaries. An average of 12,512 of those trees are removed from parks every year, with nearly all mulched and sent to landfills. In an effort to reduce this waste, Long Island City-based lighting company Stickbulb has developed Treeline, a collection of fixtures whose housing is fashioned from wood salvaged from New York’s felled trees.
Suspended from the ceiling with wire, the Treeline series comes in four sizes, with models ranging from 4 to 8 feet. The units, available in direct and indirect lighting configurations, offer up to 1,800 lumens per foot and may be specified in three finishes.
“It was through our research and development of using reclaimed wood over the past decade that we became acutely aware of the massive issue with urban wood waste,” explains Stickbulb co-founders Russell Greenberg and Christopher Beardsley. Prior to Treeline, the company had used reclaimed wood in a few of its fixtures, with the material sourced from decommissioned New York City water towers and demolished buildings.
Greenberg and Beardsley’s desire to design utilizing sustainable, hyper-local materials led them to join Forest For All NYC. A broad coalition of foresters, urban planners, advocates, and private and public entities, the organization aims to support, expand, and provide equal access of the city’s trees to all New Yorkers. The pair also began working with the NYC Parks Department and Tri-Lox, a Brooklyn-based research, manufacturing, and custom-fabrication company, to experiment with ways to transform urban wood waste into desirable products.
The Treeline fixtures incorporate wood from pin-oaks, New York’s second most populous tree. The wood is processed on the Brooklyn waterfront, less than a mile from the Stickbulb studio, and stockpiled in a wood bank the company created. The bank is replenished whenever fallen trees become available and drawn upon when Stickbulb needs to fabricate a fixture.
Greenberg and Beardsley say that the wood scraps they noticed accumulating around the studio sparked their interest in utilizing reclaimed materials. They suggest companies interested in a similar approach ask themselves what waste their neighborhood, city, and current processes is creating. “Answering those questions will lead to finding unique, beautiful, and sustainable materials,” they assure.