Wood, the natural resource renowned for evoking excitement among artisans worldwide. Whether in its simplest or most exotic form, each piece is said to contain a unique singular beauty emphasising the charm of the natural world. (NY Times, 2015)
With experts claiming wood is now taking over from steel and concrete as the architectural wonder material of the 21st century. The natural resource is taking back its position as one of societies original “building blocks” and receiving praise for its sustainability and quality. With British architect Andrew Waugh claiming the natural resource is powerful, agile and easy to construct, he states;
“This is the beginning of the timber age.” (Dazeen, 2015)
Embracing structural concepts, an increasing number of designers are adopting this natural resource with an alluring architectural twist.
Thomas Vailly | Reconfiguration of a Tree Research Project
Collaborating with a number of artists, Dutch designer Thomas Vailley’s recent project of combining pine wood with natural dark resin has led to the emergence of an intriguing set of designs.
Adopting the wood from the Pinus Pinaster tree — a resinous species that grows in the Landes forest in France. The Dutch designer claims the great availability of synthetic resources is impacting on design decisions;
“The ubiquity of synthetic substances minimises our interest for existing natural solutions.”
Deconstructing a single tree for the project, Vailley carefully crafted a range of organic furnitures and wearables pieces. Commenting on his contemporary collection, Vailly claims;
“The result is an abstraction of a tree, a black matter joining, coating, blending in and contrasting with pine wood.”
Inspired by Japanese baskets, designer Stephanie Bila’s collection of body jewellery features an array of flexible beech timber and crystals. Adopting wood to create a combination of intricate ribbed forms, the conceptual collection recalls the organic structures of shells and skeletons.
With Swarovski crystals delicately attached to the thin edges of some of the pieces, Bila adopts the bent beech timber in an attempt to explore the human form. The talented designer claims;
“Linear sculptures extend, encase, rest upon and surround the body creating a new human architecture.” (Dazeen, 2015)
With multiple design possibilities available from the earthy material, product designer Shimon Ezekiel has an unique aesthetic approach to creating minimal products. Paying close attention to fine details, the Israeli designer delicately uses wood to create costume single units or a small series of products, starting at the concept stage and ending with the final product. Using a particular layering technique amongst his wooden designs, the designer attempts to free his products of “noise,” providing each piece with a clean and polished finish. Drawing inspiration from the renowned “Tube” collection, Ezekiel’s array of handmade designs are all nickel free and embrace the natural resource of wood whilst remaining eco-friendly. (Ezekiel Design Studio, 2015)
With endless sculptural possibilities leading to emergence of unconventional designs in both fashion and architecture, the desire to adopt this durable material is becoming increasingly popular within the design world. Commenting on the vibrant future of the natural resource, Alex de Rijke, director of London-based firm dRMM claims;
“The 17th century was the age of stone,” he said. “The 18th century was the peak of brick. The 19th century was the era of iron. The 20th century was the century of concrete. The 21st century will be the time for timber.”