Wood may be the most traditional of materials to craft furnishings with, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to innovative ends. Here are examples from Benchmark, Taller Maya, Ini Archibong and more.

Photo: David Cleveland

IKLWA

Benchmark

Nottingham-based designer Mac Collins’s first consumer collection, Iklwa, includes a large and small lounge chair and side table. The Benchmark range is crafted from ash and oak and finished with an Earth Orange stain or classic white oil. Collins explored his African-Caribbean roots with the designs, inspired by the ideas of Afrocentrism and Afrofuturism: spear-like forms rise to the high, the throne-like back of the larger lounge chair empowers the sitter. It’s a visual language continued in the accompanying pieces.

GEORGE

Seeds London x Alpi

Marco Campardo considered what the role of waste material in contemporary design production could be when producing George, a furniture range from Seeds London. To build the stools, coffee tables and dining tables, Campardo experimented with reclaimed sheets of wood from manufacturer Alpi. Multicoloured scraps normally used for surface veneer were glued together to form thick, structural blocks, a solution that offers an aesthetic alternative to solid wood furniture.

TESSA

Flexform

Simplicity lies at the heart of Antonio Citterio’s vision for Flexform armchair Tessa. Its frame – in solid ash or turned Canaletto walnut – is married with a handcrafted woven paper rush cord seat and backrest that come with optional soft cushions. The Tessa family also comprises an ottoman, a bench and a marble-top coffee table.

Photo: Mariana Achach

TALLER MAYA

Taller Maya for Ensamble Artesano

Influenced by its surrounding community – the Yucatan Peninsula, otherwise known as the cradle of Mayan culture – Mexican design collective Taller Maya came up with a collection of various collectible objects for creative platform Ensamble Artesano. The designers utilized craft techniques and materials typical of the region, resulting in pieces including canvases, natural fibre totes, bags and a striking decorative wall panel comprised of hexagonal wood pieces in different tones.

Photo: David Cleveland

KADAMBA GATE

Ini Archibong

Ini Archibong’s Kadamba Gate is a table and bench set chiselled from American cherry, red oak and thermally modified red oak. Functional for the outdoors, the colourful epoxy-laminated wood tabletop design is supported by a metal base plate and frame. The underframe’s multi-sized wood extrusions are a nod to Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway – a natural landscape with 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The set boasts intricate, removable brass detailing that allows for drainage when exposed to the elements.

C-CHAIR

Gubi

As an alternative to oversized and often uncomfortable Louis XV and Regency chairs, the late architect and designer Marcel Gascoin developed the C-Chair in 1947 for post-war housing in France. Gubi has been working with the designer’s archive since 2018 to reacquaint today’s consumers with his work. This year, two new editions of the C-Chair were launched – one with hand-woven paper cord and the other in veneer – among other Gascoin re-releases.

TRANQUEBAR CHAIR

Ca’lyah

The result of a collaboration between skilled Danish carpenters and traditional craftspeople in South India, Ca'lyah's Tranquebar Chair is based on a design by Boris Berlin, developed in collaboration with PP Møbler. Merging the cultural heritage of the two countries into one design, the chair is an ‘interplay of modern production methods and long-held craft traditions’.