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Material choice is the foundation of good design. To make the right decision, an understanding of not just how a material performs physically is crucial, while its environmental impact and aesthetic potential also matter. Timber in the built environment has also been shown to have a positive impact on wellbeing.

“I wanted to create a case study design exploring how timber could be used in various ways within our workplace environment”. Adam Markowitz has taken the opportunity to create a respite for visitors at Australia’s premier design exhibition. Drawing on the extensive research that demonstrates the impact of natural materials on workplace wellbeing and productivity Markowitz has created a range of different moments, from a breakout hotdesk to a relaxation area as part of the oak REDefined collaboration. Designed to consider the details essential to comfort such as subtle curvature on hot desk edges to reduce strain when typing to slimline cable management solutions obscuring the necessary but visually unappealing technology, Markowitz has demonstrated that with timber, functionality and beauty are seamless. A tangram table introduces a playful puzzle designed by Australia’s top graphic artist, Marcus Piper, offering some mindspace amidst the visual vigour of the show. Visitors are warmly welcomed to come and relax and recharge. With discreet and comfortable seats with woven cord seating by Modasest and charging stations the oak REDefined stand provides a space where something or nothing can be done. 

Manufactured entirely from American red oak, the installation explores this lesser understood but prolific species. Natural, stained and thermally modified timber combine to tell a story of this versatile hardwood. “It’s an interesting species for me to focus on because I think, for Australian architects, most are not even aware of the different species of American oak” says Markowitz. “I think it’s important, given the quantities of American oak specified by Australian architects and designers  that they understand more about what they are choosing and why. There is a difference between American white and red oak and for me red oak is a very interesting species because of its porous stain absorbing attributes that are very different to that of white oak. In most cases the two species are very difficult to tell apart by observation alone and so for many applications there is no reason not to specify red oak as frequently as white oak. It’s also the more abundant of the two species” he adds.