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Wood for good: AHEC’s Oak REDefined exhibition stand

AHEC’s award-winning exhibition stand was an exploration of the physical and emotional properties of red oak timber, in turn, resulting in a space that helped visitors and onlookers relax and recharge.

Sustainable design, as a concept, is receiving growing impetus. And often, it starts with choosing the right material. Selecting a material based not only on its performance and aesthetic value but also its environmental impact can genuinely help pave the way for design that inspires.

Case in the point: The American Hardwood Export Council’s (AHEC) Oak REDefined stand at the recently-concluded contemporary interior design trade show, Denfair. Timber was the material of choice for the stand’s designers, given its ability to positively affect health and well-being within the built environment. Sydney-based Evostyle used a combination of thermally-modified and natural red oak to build the stand and installation.

Based on the amount of energy used during its manufacturing, the installation was also identified as being carbon neutral. And to top it all off, Oak REDefined won the Best Large Stand title too.

The stand sought to create the perfect spot for relaxing, recharging and reconnection and was developed under the creative direction of designer Adam Markowitz and graphic artist Marcus Piper.

The impressive design also factored in comfort, through the subtle curvature on the hot desk edges, along with cable management solutions to obscure wires and any visually unappealing technology. Discreet and comfortable woven cord seats by Modanest coupled with charging stations also helped the space stand out.

Functioning as a hot desk, dedicated relaxation zone, even a playable puzzle designed by Marcus Piper in the form of a tangram table, the stand helped serve multiple functions through the day, in turn showcasing a balance between beauty and functionality.

“I think that it’s important as a designer to understand as much as possible about the materials you are using,” says Markowitz. “For me, red oak is a very interesting species because of its porous, stain absorbing attributes that are very different from American white oak.”

Speaking about the collaboration, Rod Wiles, Director of The American Hardwood Export Council Oceania says, “We want designers to be able to make an informed choice about the materials that they use and so wanted to take this opportunity to share the capabilities and strong positive environmental profile of the most abundant American hardwood species with the Australian design and architectural communities.”

Photography by Tim Robinson.

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