A record of fourteen furniture and product projects have been shortlisted for the Wood Awards 2017. Four bespoke designs, four production and six student designs have been selected by the judges, led by Max Fraser, design curator and author. All the shortlisted projects will be on display at the London Design Fair (Stand B05, Hall T2), 21st-24th September, at Old Truman Brewery. The winners will be revealed by Wood Awards host Johanna Agerman Ross, Founder of Disegno magazine and Curator of Twentieth Century and Contemporary Furniture and Product Design at the V&A, at the annual ceremony at Carpenters’ Hall on 21st November.
Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in the world’s only naturally sustainable material. The Awards aim to recognise, encourage and promote outstanding design, craftsmanship and installation using wood.
The Awards are split into two main categories: Furniture & Product and Buildings. Within the Furniture & Product competition there are three subcategories: Bespoke, Production Made and Student Designer.
1. ANNIE’S WOOD/HUNDRED FOOT DRAIN. THREE-PANELLED SCREEN.
Designer/Maker: Wycliffe Stutchbury
Wood Species: British Bog Oak, European Oak, British Holly
The origin of the timber used is central to Wycliffe Stutchbury’s work and provides the name for each piece. The holly comes from a coppice named Annie’s Wood in Kent. For Stutchbury, holly is reminiscent of ivory and provides the opportunity to let shadow and relief play a dominant part in the overall effect of the work. It has a wonderfully muted colour gradient and its density allows it to hold a good edge. The maker is in control of the journey from the woods to the gallery through sourcing the timber himself. Bog oak provides a stark contrast to the holly and its charcoal hue absorbs light. During the final machining process Stutchbury makes a conscious attempt not to sort the tiles as they come off the band saw. Instead, he allows the timber to lead the way. Very subtle changes in colour, finish and texture, dependent on where the material has come from the tree, and how it has been cut, provide the rhythm for the construction.
2. BLOCK SERIES
Designer/Maker: Gareth Neal Ltd
Wood Supplier: Vasterns Ltd
Wood Species: English Oak
Block Series is a new body of work from Gareth Neal that continues his research into digital crafting. Using classical references, he combines relatively unexplored processes of six axis CNC routing with beams of green oak (which were over a century old) to create ancient, otherworldly artefacts dragged from history into a contemporary world. Traditional Shou Sugi Ban charring gives the carved green oak its colour.
3. COMMUNION TABLE
Designer/Maker: Stephen Owen
Client/Owner: Guildford Baptist Church
Wood Supplier: W.L.West & Sons, Whitney Sawmills
Wood Species: British Oak
The Communion Table was created for a newly developed prayer chapel within Guildford Baptist Church’s multimillion pound re-development programme. One of the key purposes of the new chapel was for quiet reflection, prayer and communion services. The design reminds the viewer of the resurrection by demonstrating the empty tomb. Oak was chosen as a large block of timber was needed to sculpt the table base. The oak also highlights spirituality as the splits, cracks and shakes emphasise power and movement.
4. TIME AND TEXTURE INSTALLATION (‘A LANDSCAPE OF OBJECTS’)
Designer/Maker: Eleanor Lakelin
Client/Owner: Flow Gallery/Somerset Art Works
Wood Supplier: English Hardwoods
Wood Species: British Oak, Cedar, Wellingtonia and Sycamore
Time and Texture is an installation of works forming part of ‘A Landscape of Objects’, a site-specific exhibition set in the gardens of Forde Abbey, curated by Flow Gallery for Somerset Art Works. The brief was to reference both the shapes, colours and texture of the gardens and buildings and the importance of water on the site. The installation is formed of three hollowed vessels on rusted plinths and four solid forms designed to show how natural elements erode and work away at materials. Through building up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting away the softer wood, it is possible to show how natural elements and processes layer and colour wood. The wellingtonia and sycamore vessels were turned on a lathe and hollowed out through a small hole. The four solid pieces are sculpted from English oak and cedar. The spherical form was chosen to reflect the natural shapes in the garden. The textures are reminiscent of seeds, pollen and rocks eroded by water.
Designer: Conor Taylor
Maker/Manufacturer: Solomon & Wu
Wood Supplier: Wessex Timber, Saunders Seasoning
Wood Species: British Oak, Walnut, Cedar of Lebanon and London Plane
Foresso is timber terrazzo developed as a response to working in high-end carpentry workshops where high-quality offcuts and planing waste is discarded. Unlike marble, timber is readily available and sustainable while still offering huge variation in colour, tone and woodgrain. Additionally, it is warmer and more lightweight than its counterpart, encouraging uses outside the normal parameters of stone terrazzo. The speckled aesthetic is both durable and versatile. Any timber shape or size can be used and any knots, burr or splits only add to the beauty of the surface. Each standard colourway has been influenced by London interiors, the city in which the designer grew up and works.
2. SERVE RANGE FOR CASE
Designer: Gareth Neal Ltd
Maker/Manufacturer: Case Furniture
Wood Species: European Beech
Designed by Gareth Neal exclusively for the furniture retailer Case, this beautiful set of tableware includes versatile trays, grinders, trivets and serving boards. The elegant, carefully crafted range of objects was created as highly functional additions to a domestic setting.
3. NARIN CHAIR
Designer: David Irwin
Maker/Manufacturer: Case Furniture
Wood Supplier: Various
Wood Species: American White Oak and Black Walnut, European Birch
Case wanted to change preconceptions of what a folding chair is; a piece of furniture you would be proud to have on display at any time and not the emergency chair that comes out of the cupboard at Christmas. The Narin doesn’t comprise on aesthetics or comfort despite the folding design. Its smooth, sweeping transition is accentuated through the solid timber turned legs into the formed backrest. The comfortable backrest acts as the pivot from where the back legs rotate. The seat and back are made of a high-grade birch ply with oak or walnut veneer while the rest of the chair is solid wood.
4. PERO SHELVING
Designer: Matthew Hilton
Maker/Manufacturer: Ercol Furniture
Timber Components: Italian
Wood Supplier: Italian
Wood Species: European Oak
The Pero Shelving unit is part of a range of solid oak storage and desking designed by Matthew Hilton for Ercol. The range’s key detail is the central support rail. The legs and shelf support frames are fixed either side of this structural beam, whose rounded bottom-edge profile and visible end grain give the range its distinctive character. The legs and shelves taper outwards from the centre, creating lightness and elegance. All wooden components are CNC machined, and designed to be ‘picked up’ as few times as possible, minimising machine time and cost. The shelving is disassembled for compact shipping and assembly on site.
Within the Student Designer category there are two cash prizes; £1,000 for Winner and £500 for People’s Choice. Voting for the People’s Choice Award will take place at the London Design Fair.
1. HEX DRINKS CABINET
Designer/Maker: Damian Robinson (BlytheHart Made)
College/University: Williams and Cleal
Hexagonal Laser Cutting: Luffman Engineering Ltd
Wood Supplier: Adamson and Low, Mundy Veneers
Wood Species: British Bog Oak, Fumed Oak, English Cherry, Black Walnut, Tropical Olive, Teak, Olive Ash
The inspiration for the Hex Drinks Cabinet comes from the colour and uniformity of bees’ nest found in the maker’s garden. Veneers in contrasting timbers and grain patterns were used for the honeycomb. The maker laid the veneer hexagons out in sequence while referring to the actual nest. The edges of the doors were designed to meet in a line that followed the interlinking hexagons. The inset brass levers devised to open the doors were made in the same size of the hexagons to mesh seamlessly with the overall design. English bog oak, dating from 3,300BC, was selected to set off the complex honeycomb pattern without interference.
Designer/Maker: Harriet Speed
College/University: Rycotewood Furniture Centre
Wood Supplier: Tyler Hardwoods
Wood Species: English Ash
HINNY is an interactive seat that encourages children and adults to read together. The scalloped backrest demonstrates the beauty of natural wood grain through an ergonomic detail. It was designed with a view for the backrest and upholstered seat to be customised. The design explores a contrast between soft curves and angular shaping in a friendly, equine form. The shape of the chair invites users to choose a sitting position of their choice.
3. RUSTIC STOOL 1.0
Designer/Maker: Mark Laban
College/University: Central Saint Martins
Wood Supplier: Whitten Timber
Wood Species: American Hard Maple
Rustic Stool 1.0 was developed through a process-driven approach to design engaging directly with the manufacturing technique itself: a 3-axis CNC router. Through manipulating the machine’s software, unexpected and unconventional surfaces are created. These artificially generated rough textures begin to evoke the raw state of the material in its natural form. The stool is part of Mark Laban’s Digital Daiku collection, which interprets traditional Japanese aesthetic principles and explores their possibilities using contemporary digital manufacturing processes. American Maple was used for its fine grain and delicate colouring and tonality.
Designer/Maker: Jack Green
College/University: Nottingham Trent University
Wood Supplier: Timbmet
Wood Species: European Ash
Split is a lounge chair with accompanying foot stool designed for the living room or office space. Its slung leather seat and back offers comfort, while the wooden frame creates an organic form while providing strength. Ash was chosen due to its open grain and light colour, creating a contrast between the leather and the wood. Ash is also easy to machine on a CNC Router decreasing the likelihood of chips and splits.
Designer/Maker: Rowena Edwards
College/University: Building Crafts College
Wood Supplier: DHH Timber
Wood Species: Latvian Birch, American Ash
Tri is a multifunctional table that uses three different objects that can be housed together or moved though the home to perform individual, useful tasks. Overlap, is the surface area of the design, which acts as a useful side table or an overlap to a sofa arm. Step up, is the core of this furniture family, allowing you to access out of reach places, and doubles up as a storage unit or seat. Bocs, the smallest component, is a useful storage box which, when spun around, can be used as a small seat. An exposed ply edge runs throughout each piece like a geometric, timber river. The aesthetics ensure its translation to the user, indicating where to hold and how to move it. Birch ply was chosen for its strength, aesthetic and ease of use.
Designer/Maker: Archie Will
College/University: Building Crafts College
Wood Supplier: Blumsom Timber Centre
Wood Species: European Ash
WHY is a contemporary table. Much time was spent selecting the European ash because the grain and quality is used as a design feature. The straight and regular grain also responds well to steam bending, which was an integral part of the design. The table top curves towards the left while the foot splits into a Y, reminiscent of a tree branch.
As a not-for-profit competition, the Wood Awards can only happen with collaborative industry sponsorship. Arnold Laver sponsors the Arnold Laver Gold Award which is the project that the judges deem to be the best of all the winners. Major Sponsors are the American Hardwood Export Council, Carpenters’ Company, TRADA and the London Design Fair. Other Sponsors include American Softwoods, Forestry Commission, Timber Trade Federation, Wood for Good and Furniture Makers’ Company.