In Norway, a Sustainable Alternative to Tropical Hardwood

The impressive Oslo Boathouse is made from Kebony – a sustainably sourced softwood that has undergone specialist treatment. This is to turn it into a non-toxic, durable wood with all the characteristics of a tropical hardwood but without the negative environmental impact. 


Norwegian architectural students have used the processed wood to build a 21st century re-interpretation of a boathouse, which will be used as an intimate community arts venue for up-and-coming artists. The project is the third collaboration between the company, Kebony and the students.


Kebonization is a patented process that transforms and enhances sustainable wood. This environmentally friendly process involves softwoods being injected with a formula that includes Furfuryl alcohol, a waste by-product of sugar cane production. The wood is then hardened under pressure and heat. The liquid reacts with the wood's cell walls and is permanently strengthened.


The end result is a product that resembles teak and other tropical varieties of wood. It also has a long lifespan that can withstand harsh climates – ideal for a harbourside Norwegian building. Over time, the dark wood will acquire a silver-grey patina.


Kebony has achieved numerous environmental awards including the official Nordic swan eco-label. The company also made the 2010 and 2011 list for the Guardian's Global Cleantech 100.


Here we see another great example of a creative solution to a big problem, representing hope for the environment and for humanity.