AHEC collaborates with David Chipperfield Architects and e15 to create ‘The Butler’ for Wallpaper* Handmade in Milan

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has partnered with David Chipperfield Architects and e15 to re-imagine the hotel’s wardrobe/suitcase stand. The aim was to create a bespoke piece of furniture that allows travellers to unpack their belongings easily and ensure they wouldn’t leave anything behind. ‘The Butler’ marks the fifth collaboration between AHEC and Wallpaper*’s innovative Handmade exhibition, which has proven to be a brilliant platform to experiment with American hardwoods and work with great designers.

London-based David Chipperfield Architects was invited by Wallpaper* to design an alternative to the traditional hotel wardrobe and chest of drawers to tie in with Wallpaper* Handmade’s theme for 2016 – travel and the Wallpaper* hotel. In response, David Chipperfield Architects have designed the piece and instructed furniture-makers e15, who manufacture much of the practice’s furniture. e15 has pioneered the use of solid wood in its purest form and has crafted ‘The Butler’ out of American willow. The team at Wallpaper* travels often and rarely unpack fully in hotel rooms or to make use of the standard wardrobes and suitcase stands. In an effort to re-define the in-room experience and make unpacking and re-packing an effortless and elegant experience, David Chipperfield Architects was commissioned to design a contemporary take on the valet stand crossed with a sideboard.

“Most hotels have badly designed wardrobes and cupboards,” says David Chipperfield. “They are not well organised and unpacking your suitcase is not enjoyable. The idea of Butler was to design a ‘dressing table’ that makes unpacking in a hotel room into a joy.”

“We are thrilled to be working with such a distinguished creative team on such an exciting and very original piece. The timber is beautifully showcased within David Chipperfield and e15’s unique design for our conceptual hotel room,” adds Ellie Stathaki, architecture editor at Wallpaper*.

“This was the first time we worked with American willow, a wood that is much softer than e15’s primary material European oak, but we are very satisfied with the result,” says Jan Philip Holler, senior product designer at e15 who worked on the project. “With a focus on premium craftsmanship, the furniture features a number of constructive details, such as a gap at the back of the piece which allows the wood to expand and shrink over time. American willow as the main material was combined with brushed brass, vegetal leather and Bianco Carrara marble to create a rich mix of materials. This interplay of pure materials creates an intriguing contrast with the reduced, architectural design of Butler.”