Legacy travels to Germany for IMM Cologne

In the summer of 2019, ten leaders of London’s cultural institutions joined some of Europe’s most exciting designers to create a ‘legacy’ piece that they would like to pass on to a family member or the institution they lead. The ten pieces, all crafted using American red oak, were first presented at London Design Festival 2019, and in January 2020, the Legacy exhibition will make its debut in Germany at IMM Cologne.

Sir John Sorrell, chairman of London Design Festival, launched this extraordinary collaboration in May this year. Ten exclusive pieces were created in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and English furniture manufacturer Benchmark Furniture, whose Berkshire workshop made the pieces over the summer.

All the pieces were made in the workshop at Benchmark Furniture over the summer

The Legacy pieces are everyday objects with designs inspired by the needs of each individual commissioner or cultural institution. From an LP record shelf for the office, to two sofas for a meeting room, to a post box for visitors - for the versatile, sometimes complex designs, American red oak proved to be an ideal material. Red oak is characterized by its exceptional robustness and durability and can be easily machined or steam-bent. The fine grain and the warm colouring of the wood provide a unique look.

"We wanted to create a project that highlighted the suitability of the American red oak for furniture manufacturing, while testing the performance and quality of this abundant wood. AHEC always strives to increase the potential applications for American hardwoods," says AHEC European Director David Venables. "Legacy is a great project with incredible designers. We are absolutely delighted with the resulting objects, which will hopefully be admired by many generations to come. "

Detail of 'Au' by Tomoko Azumi for Kwame Kwei-Armah of the Young Vic.



- 'Fugu' by Jasper Morrison Studio with Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Two chairs and a side table for the waiting area outside Tristram Hunt's office

- 'Beehave' by Marlène Huissoud with Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group. A beehive which will feature in a new agricultural area of the Science Museum.

- 'Serpentine Postbox' by Nina Tolstrup and Jack Mama of Studiomama with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries. A large and a small postbox for visitors to send postcards from the gallery.

- 'Duo' by Terence Woodgate with Alex Beard CBE, CEO of the Royal Opera House. Two sofas intended for one of the meeting rooms in the Royal Opera House

 - 'Writer's Collection' by Sebastian Cox with Amanda Nevill CBE, CEO of the British Film Institute. A desk, chair and pen holder where emerging filmmakers and writers can leave a record of what they were working on at the time.

- 'Musical Shelf' by Martino Gamper with Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of the English National Ballet. A shelf for Tamara's LP record collection.

- 'Valet' by Max Lamb with Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate. A multipurpose dressing screen with a mirror, a shelf and a button for hanging clothes.

- 'Wooden Hinge' by Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay of Raw Edges with Iwona Blazwick OBW, Director of Whitechapel Gallery. A bookstand made to display books and catalogues in the gallery.

- 'Au' by Tomoko Azumi with Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE, Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theater. A boat-shaped outdoor seat for Kwame's garden.,

- 'The Nest' by Juliet Quintero with Sir John Sorrell, Chairman of the London Design Festival. A garden look-out seat for John's countryside home.

Fugu by Jasper Morrison Studio
'Fugu' by Jasper Morrison Studio for Dr Tristram Hunt of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Legacy can be found at the passage of hall 11/3 for the duration of the IMM furniture fair.

IMM Cologne

Koelnmesse GmbH
Messeplatz 1
50679 Cologne

13.01.2020 – 19.01.2020

Monday to Friday: 9.00 - 18.00
Saturday: 10.00 - 18.00
Sunday: 10.00 - 17.00


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