The Ewok tree village on Endor planted an idea – our forests would only survive if trees had a value to us humans, he thought, other than a monetary one. If we used trees as living accommodation, that might just save them! The seed of treehouse architecture had been sown.
Many years later, after training as an architect, Alex conceives ‘Tentsile’ as a usable space created through pure tension. The lightweight, portable treehouse would use three anchor points to create a “living space” suspended between the trees …and so began the process of designing and prototyping affordable, habitable, tensioned tree structures.
In 2017 the Tentsile team is over twenty people. Tentsile remain committed to working with and supporting organisations around the world, donating tents to flood relief efforts, sending tents to orangutan sanctuaries in Asia, campaigning against deforestation in the Amazon and partnering with WeForest to help replant vast swathes of Africa to stop the desertification of Southern Saharan countries.
“We have an ethical and moral obligation to highlight the issues surrounding deforestation. And we can do something about it, which turns out is good for business – our customers really engage with the fact that we have a serious commitment to trees and forests, and that they themselves are contributing through their purchase. It is obvious that ‘business as a force for good’ is the the business model of the future. Business owners want it, customers want it, society wants it. And it’s so much more fun!” Alex Shirley-Smith, Founder, Tentsile.
Six months ago, Tentsile started the #BecomeOneOfTheMillion campaign to plant one million trees over five years across the globe, starting tree planting initiatives on every continent. How they will do this is simple – get one million people camping in trees over 5 years, with forest restoration driven through each and every tent hanging between the trees. What a superb idea.
WeForest tried one of Alex’s tree tents. In a word, awesome. Check out some amazing images here.