American Hardwood Export Council and Wallpaper* present Discovered, a showcase in wood designs

Recollect by Tan Wei Xiang, designed using American hard maple, red oak. Photo: Winston Chuang

This September, the Design Museum hosts a global showcase of the next generation of design talent, titled Discovered. Bringing together 20 emerging designers from 16 countries, Discovered presents a visionary group of young creatives from across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia in a showcase of furniture, objects and sculptural works in wood.

A collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and Wallpaper* magazine, Discovered offers a series of personal reflections on the pandemic experience, while providing a platform for new creatives where they can get their works out in front of the public and the industry, after a year in which the usual channels for exposure were inaccessible.

The designers have worked alongside design mentors and AHEC’s global manufacturing partners to each develop a new object made from their choice of four sustainable hardwoods: American red oak, cherry, and hard and soft maple.

Throughout the project, designers were supported and mentored by Wallpaper* editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas and by AHEC’s European director David Venables, as well as a global group of designers including Tomoko Azumi, Maria Jeglinska-Adamczewska, Nathan Yong and Adam Markowitz.

“Discovered is a unique opportunity for us, as we will be joining forces with the other AHEC regional offices in a creative project for the first time,” said John Chan, regional director of AHEC South East Asia & Greater China. “Together with Wallpaper*, we have selected an extremely exciting line-up of designers from 16 different countries – 5 of whom are from South East Asia and China.  This project has enabled us to give them a valuable learning experience on product design and development with sustainable hardwood. We are also fortunate to have had input from Designer Nathan Yong as a mentor for the South East Asia and Greater China designers.  Added to this has been world-class manufacturing from Fowseng in Malaysia. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the capability of South East Asian and Chinese design on a global stage.”

To develop their concepts, participants were invited to think freely about their experience of living and working in isolation, responding to themes of touch, reflection and strength, and to channel their own experiences into a piece that represents functional and emotional connections to everyday objects.

The designers have considered ideas such as identity and cultural heritage, family and social ritual, the pandemic-induced need to adapt, and the inherent comfort of touch. This has resulted in a diverse selection of objects, ranging from functional furniture such as cabinets, tables and chairs to more abstract, sculptural works that inspire reflection.

To explore the designs and know more about Discovered, head over to