The oak REDefined installation was made by Australia’s top furniture manufacturer, Evostyle. This is the 4th time that AHEC has worked with Evostyle for Denfair. Here we talk to owners Luke and Louise Ommundson about their experiences rediscovering American red oak for this project.
Luke and Louise on:
We love both the attractiveness and sustainability of American species. They are beautiful to work with and have a wonderful variety of grains, textures and colours. However it’s the story behind how the timber is managed in the US forests that most appeals to us. Unlike the forest industry in many other parts of the world, we value the fact that most of the timber is sourced from private properties, selectively harvested rather than through the practice of clear-felling and that the timber is growing faster than it can be harvested. Acting as sustainably as possible is important to our business and as an industry we have a duty to respect the source of the materials we like to use.
American red oak
In Australia we are seeing a clear move away from the Scandinavian movement of a few years ago. More Australian designers are making their own mark in terms of material selection. They are eager to embrace different species, especially when as makers we can educate them and advise on the most suitable timber for their application. Timber species that machine well and have all the other properties valued in a timber (hardness, workability and uniformity of grain) are always favoured. With American red oak there is also the added bonus of availability and abundance.
The evolution of oak REDefined
We were excited to work with Adam not only because we respected him as a designer but because we were enthusiastic about the stand this year taking on an architectural feel. We liked the way we could work hand in hand with him and the design could evolve based on the both design intent and manufacturing possibilities. We all agreed the design needed to feel inclusive and approachable, so that people were drawn to the stand and felt comfortable and welcome to stay and either do their own thing, or learn about red oak.
For example, Adam liked the idea of incorporating a lot of thermally-modified oak for its rich colour, however sometimes thermally-modified timbers can be brittle so we worked to modify the design to take into account machinability and minimise the risk of breakout. The mutual respect between Designer and Maker is evident in the final product.
Realising the design
We started by re-modelling Adam’s design to incorporate parameters that enabled us to modify every component should we need to tweak things along the way. We also had to consider transportation and logistics, particularly how the design could be fully manufactured in at our factory in Sydney, yet assembled in a day at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne. The functionality of the tangram table was also taken into account with the progressive work of Marcus Piper who grabbed the initial idea and ran with it. All three parties (Evostyle, Adam Markowitz and Marcus Piper) had enough design freedom to fully use their talents and the teamwork and communication was excellent. Even when challenges were faced, we all worked together to overcome it in the most optimal way.
The whole design team are delighted with the end result.