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AHEC tasked 17 of the school’s Second Year Foundation students with a brief to create a piece of storage out of two boards of red oak. The students were told to use the material as creatively and efficiently as possible, making the most of its natural characteristics. Each student was also asked to think of an inspirational architect or artist to influence their piece. 

Renowned British furniture designer Sebastian Cox was a guest tutor for the project and spoke to the students at the beginning of the project, giving an insight into his own business and inspiring them with work he has created using red oak. Cox continued to oversee the project and mentor the students, giving each student three individual sessions to advise on their pieces and critique their ideas.

“Courses like these are an essential part of the make-up of a university education. A lot of product design courses have workshop access but not proper craft training and that misses something in terms of getting a deep knowledge of how to make a piece and how to read a material,” says Cox. “What’s special about Rycotewood is that they really teach that in-depth exploration of working with wood and I think that is essential for anyone who wants to work in design.

“It is great to see a course that is craft-based setting a brief which has a narrative angle on it. That is just as important as teaching craft processes.” Adds Cox: “Those students need to leave university equipped with the ability to take a concept and turn that into a product.”