Planed to perfection, wood remains a timeless classic and a perennial favorite among today’s designers.

Bent on beauty and planed to perfection, wood remains a perennial classic among today’s designers.

Innovation may inspire new forms, but designers continually look to the timeless beauty of wood when creating neo-classics. For millennia craftsmen have planed, turned and carved, creating functional objets d’art that have withstood the centuries, growing ever more graceful with time. From precious rosewood and wenge, to the distinct markings of birch and walnut, the organic beauty of the grain continues to inspire creativity.

The invention of plywood in the mid-nineteenth century revolutionized modern furniture design. By bonding layers of wood veneers - the grains running crosswise for added durability – manufacturers created a material that was both cheaper and more flexible than natural timber. Modernists were eager to embrace the revolutionary new material, exploring techniques and processes that challenged traditional craftsmanship. German cabinetmaker, Michael Thonet, was a pioneer of bentwood furniture, creating the Thonet chair, which still remains an icon of industrial design and a best-selling classic. Gerrit Rietveld, Alvar Aalto and the Eames’s all extolled the merits of this practical, yet equally attractive alternative, making it a favorite among today’s designers.

The nineties saw a predilection for the rare and exotic with the beautiful contrasting tones of zebrano, and wenge – a rich, tropical dark timber - that became a favorite among the interior design cognoscenti.

In the new century climate change and deforestation has brought about a wave of consciousness, deeming the use of rare and luxurious woods ostentatious and unnecessary. Sustainably farmed forests and woods growing in abundance have tapped into the trend for thoughtful consumption. As one of nature’s most copious natural resources, bamboo has once again become à la mode.

However, as peerless craftsmanship returns to the fore, savvy design collectors are investing in heirloom quality pieces that highlight the organic beauty of fine traditional woods, from oak to ash, while exemplifying centuries-old skills that will continue to flourish for generations to come as long as there are trees.

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