U.S. hardwoods in the spotlight at Interzum
To meet the range of U.S. hardwood suppliers and see the spectrum of species, short of taking a flight over the Atlantic, the place to be is Interzum 2019.
The American presence at Europe’s premier furniture production and interior design exhibition will be at its most high profile since the 1990s. Such was the interest in attending the Cologne event, the American Hardwood Export Council organised a U.S. hardwood pavilion with space for 18 companies. But that wasn’t enough, so there’s now a second to accommodate a further 8.
“The interest has been tremendous – and, besides the pavilions, there will be state exhibitor groupings, and companies taking individual stands. That pushes total U.S. representation to between 35 and 40 exhibitors,” said AHEC European Director David Venables. “That’s going to generate a great energy. It will be an exciting place to be, both for the American suppliers and show visitors, who will be able to experience both the familiar and the new from our industry.”
One factor in this re-energised interest in Interzum is the dip in demand from America’s biggest hardwood market, China.
“Given China’s weakening economy and tariffs on both sides of the U.S.-China trade dispute, North American hardwood suppliers are motivated to explore new markets and expand their presence in existing ones,” said AHEC Chairman Scott Seyler. “Interzum is the prime venue to do just that. It’s not just a lead exhibition for the European furniture sector, a key customer for U.S. hardwood for many years, it’s also got global reach. It’s the place for U.S. suppliers to make connections in other markets, such as the Middle East and South East Asia, as decision makers from around the world converge on Cologne.”
Interzum is also seen as an opportunity to provide fresh perspectives on the U.S. industry and its abundant and diverse hardwood offer to a European market, which, as Scott Seyler says, has always been a leader in innovation. Focal points will include the assured sustainability and legality of the American hardwood supply.
“This is an area where the U.S. industry already has a global reputation, but it’s done a masterful job of illuminating these aspects further,” said Scott Seyler. “Such two innovative developments are AHEC’s interactive online map, which uses satellite technology and U.S. Forest Service data to show the U.S. hardwood forest is a robust, growing resource, and the American Hardwood Environmental Profile (AHEP), a document detailing the legality, sustainability and carbon impacts of U.S. hardwood lumber consignments shipped to any destination worldwide.”
There will be information on the whole richly diverse palette of U.S. hardwoods at the show. Additionally AHEC will invite visitors to take another look at species they may feel they’re familiar with. In particular the spotlight will fall on red oak, which will be the sole species on show on AHEC’s stand.
“Red oak is not just America’s most abundant hardwood, and so its most sustainable, it’s hugely versatile with an appealing, wonderfully warm aesthetic. However, while it’s very popular in other markets, it’s been less utilised in Europe," said David Venables. “We have some incredibly exciting projects lined up to showcase its potential through the year. It’s oak redefined and it all starts at Interzum.”
All the counter surfaces on AHEC’s stand will be in red oak and, excitingly, it has commissioned a range of modular furniture in the species from acclaimed UK designer-maker Sebastian Cox, a red oak fan on aesthetic and environmental grounds.
“I want to cast oak furniture in a new light at Interzum,” said Sebastian. “Where you might expect it to be heavy and chunky, this will be rectilinear, light and elegant. It will be nestable and designed for batch production. We will also use a raw lightly white pigmented oil finish so it’s near to natural as possible.”
The whole AHEC Europe team will also be at Interzum to provide information, advice and company introductions.
“We’ll also have technical consultants and, in our exhibitors, generations of timber expertise to tap into,” said David Venables. “So if you want to know all about the exciting things happening in red oak and the spread of U.S. hardwood species, come and visit us at Interzum.”
Visit AHEC at Interzum (May 21-24 May 2019) at:
Hall 10.2, spaces G020 – H029 and D074-C065
For more information, europe [at] americanhardwood.org (subject: Interzum%20enquiry) (please get in touch.)