AHEC participates in Madrid Design Festival with two wood design showcases

The furniture pieces showcased for SLOW Spain

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is presenting two wood design projects at the Madrid Design Festival 2023, from 7 Feb-12 Mar 2023.

The first is ‘SLOW Spain: Slow design for fast change’, a project in collaboration with nine Spanish design schools, that showcases the talent and ideas of the emerging design generation while exploring the material possibilities of four sustainable but underused American hardwoods.

The projects, all focused on furniture design, have been mentored by designers Inma Bermúdez and Moritz Krefter from Studio Inma Bermúdez, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón from studio ACdO, and Jorge Penadés from Oficina Penadés.

Together with the students, they have worked to refine and shape their ideas using red oak, maple, cherry and tulipwood.

The exhibition aims to show the importance of ‘slow design’ and how this philosophy can be applied in the creation of furniture. As well as being an opportunity to learn more about the importance of sustainability in furniture design, the ‘slow’ approach can contribute to a positive change in the current culture of fast furniture.

Each of the pieces has been handcrafted in the La Navarra carpentry in Madrid. The final designs mix aesthetics with functionality, and range from side tables to a bookcase-screen, a desk or the reinvention of a chair.

“SLOW is about education and opportunity. We have attempted to fill the gap in design education which often does not provide an in-depth experience for design students to learn about and work with hardwood materials,” said David Venables, European director of AHEC.

The mentors of SLOW Spain, as well as designers for the workpieces showcased for Natural Connections. From left: Jorge Penadés, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón, Inma Bermúdez and Moritz Krefter

The second project is ‘Natural Connections’, which reportedly aims to connect materials and people in a playful, conscious and nature-focused way.

The aforementioned mentor-designers were invited to create three pieces of furniture for public spaces, designed to help people encounter and rediscover nature, using red oak, maple or cherry.

The result is a collection of pieces that promote fun and interaction, inspired by the beauty and warmth of wood.

“Our collaboration with the Madrid Design Festival, Matadero Madrid and three of the most important design studios in Spain has provided an amazing opportunity to connect the public with the worlds of design, craft, and wood,” said Venables.

“The design teams worked with maple, cherry, and red oak to create playful, original, and highly innovative installations that we hope will provide engagement, excitement and a connection for visitors to these wonderful natural materials.”

Images: AHEC