AHEC Out of the Woods. Adventures of 13 Hardwood Chairs.
The American Hardwood Export Council will collaborate with product design students at the Royal College of Art in London to produce and exhibit chairs during the London Design Festival.
Under the leadership of tutors Sebastian Wrong and Harry Richardson, the students have been set the challenge to design a functional chair or seat in an American hardwood of their choice. The designs will be developed in to working prototypes with the help of Benchmark, internationally renowned for its craftsmanship in wood and long-standing relationship with designer Terence Conran.
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is well known in the international design community for its creative promotion of hardwood, having worked with the likes of David Adjaye, Matteo Thun, Sou Fujimoto, Arup and Amanda Levete. But now its attention has turned to the potential stars of the future with a unique and groundbreaking project for students.
Education and research provides a unique element to the project because AHEC is using, for the first time, its ground-breaking Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research to help the students produce detailed Life Cycle impacts for their designs.
Each chosen prototype will be environmentally profiled using an LCA modelling system developed for AHEC by sustainability experts, PE International. AHEC is in the process of producing the first-ever Environmental Product Declaration for American hardwood lumber and veneer; it is this data that will be used by the students to build a full “cradle-to-grave” impact for their designs.
According to Sebastian Wrong, the project “offers a pioneering opportunity for students to create designs within the context of a stark reality.” His co-tutor Harry Richardson added, “it is not only a case of designing a chair that will survive physically far in to the future, it is also to produce a chair whose design will remain relevant far in to the future.”
David Venables, AHEC’s European Director who developed the idea for the project with Sebastian Wrong, says: “We are so excited to be working with students from the RCA. We can’t wait to see new talent emerge and have an opportunity to show them what a great design material hardwood is. The fact they can also see and understand the full environmental impact of their design gives this collaboration extra relevance to today’s world and sets it apart from other student design projects.”
Out of the Woods will be exhibited at the V&A during the London Design Festival, 14 - 23 September 2012. The prototypes will be made by the students at Benchmark Furniture during the week of 9th July.
For more information contact contact Ms Belinda Cobden-Ramsay:
AHEC (American Hardwood Export Council)
3 St Michael’s Alley
London EC3V 9DS (England)