GO WITH THE GRAIN
Even with the introduction of new materials for furniture design, wood holds its own. For a timeless material, wood is experiencing a contemporary revival. With growing global interest in craft, collaborations between traditional craftsmen and designers are on the rise, making wood the material to watch. From the traditional woodworking enclaves of Asia, to the industrial workshops of Brooklyn, a new generation of designers is celebrating wood in all its natural glory.
Even in the world of modern designer furniture, wood has held its own against contemporary counterparts like plastic and steel. Michael Thonet’s iconic bentwood chair, one of history’s most successful massproduced products, paved the way for an era of democratic design. Since the early 20th century, designers have long hailed the virtues of modern wood-based materials like plywood and veneers, making wood accessible to a wider population. Some of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century, like the Eames Molded Plywood Chairs, celebrate wood’s capacity to be bent and shaped into sumptuous pieces.
An age-old material, wood has never lost its appeal. But its unique qualities are perhaps increasingly relevant today. Malleable, strong, lightweight and, more crucially, renewable, wood is the sustainable material of choice for our eco-conscious world. Its simplicity and naturalness fulfils a modern need to be closer to nature.
And as traditional woodworking skills become increasingly rare, the appeal, and value, of owning a unique piece of handcrafted furniture has only grown. Wood continues to bring forth a world of fascinating possibilities, be it expressing the delicacy of Japanese cypress, the unpredictable grain of suar or the opulence of European walnut. Here’s more on the material.