AHEC hosts largest pavilion in decades at Interzum

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) showcases its innovative approach to hardwood communications at the Cologne fair with two exciting new initiatives on show: The Blushing Bar; a 3m diameter circular bar that uses calligraphy ink to dye the large vessels of red oak and Rubra; a new furniture collection designed by Sebastian Cox.

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,

this year AHEC hosts two twin pavilions with a record number of exhibition companies - 27, the highest in decades.

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.”

Originally created for Wallpaper* Handmade at this year’s Milan Design Week, the Blushing Bar was designed by architects Chan + Eayrs and crafted by furniture maker Sebastian Cox. The circular bar measures at 3 metres diameter, and is composed of 10 modules intended for making cocktails (water, alcohol, fruit, herbs, holders, ice, cutting, glass, sodas, wash basin), each of which forms a variation of a curved sculpted element. The design exploits the unique properties of American red oak, large open pores, which have been injected with red calligraphy ink, which worked to the surface to pick out the beautiful grain.

To further highlight red oak’s technical performance and aesthetic, AHEC commissioned   designer-maker Sebastian Cox to produce furniture for its stand at the. The result is the Rubra collection; a long bar-height table with stools that can be ingeniously stored underneath.

Sebastian Cox says, “everything we design is scaleable with production in mind. Added to which the market needs more products in this material.”

“It was the perfect material for the brief. Its strength to weight meant we could make the proportions of the pieces very elegant,” he added. “It also bends a great deal before snapping, machines beautifully and takes a finish well. One challenge was its eagerness to absorb glue, but, given a double application, the connections were as strong as in any hardwood.”

The Cologne exhibition will underline the U.S. hardwood sector’s commitment to revitalize its European connections. Combining twin AHEC pavilions with companies exhibiting independently takes the total of suppliers exhibiting to 27, the highest number in decades.

AHEC will use the show to further highlight the environmental strengths of the U.S. hardwood resource, presenting its various tools for verifying its sustainability. These include the LCA tool, plus its interactive, satellite imagery-based interactive forest map and American Hardwood Environmental Profile, a ‘green passport’, detailing the carbon and wider environmental impacts of U.S. hardwood consignments shipped to any destination worldwide.

AHEC will additionally unveil the latest edition of its Seneca Creek-produced risk assessment study, a uniquely wide-ranging analysis of the risk of illegal wood entering the U.S. hardwood supply chain. 

Visit AHEC at Interzum (May 21-24 May 2019) at: Hall 10.2, spaces G020 – H029 and D074-C065