Five Indian furniture designers have recently unveiled finished furniture items remade using American hardwoods as part of REMAKE, the first design collaboration in India led by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC). The project challenged these designers in selecting three pieces from their own existing furniture range and to remake them using American hardwoods.
REMAKE was conceived by AHEC, an international trade association for the American hardwood industry, as a response to the need for hands-on experience with American hardwoods in India’s evolving furniture manufacturing sector. Launched in late 2020, the project involved designers such as Bram Woodcrafting Studio, Esvee Atelier, Kam Ce Kam, Studio SFDW, and Studio Wood. The available hardwood species include American red oak, white oak, cherry, hard maple, tulipwood or hickory, all of which were supplied by AHEC from a stock of American hardwood species held in India, which was donated to AHEC by Allegheny Wood Products.
Despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic and the inability to travel to India, AHEC was able to remotely launch REMAKE with the five designer-makers. According to AHEC, the onset of COVID-19 and the enforced lockdown enabled them to spend a lot of time conducting in-depth research into India’s furniture manufacturing sector and identify a number of companies previously unknown. Many of these companies are already using imported temperate hardwoods for their production, which is primarily targeted at India’s domestic market.
On a whole, the designers all expressed satisfaction and fascination at being able to adapt American hardwoods into their designs, with some also commenting on their favourite choice of hardwoods. Bram Rouws, director of Bram Woodcrafting Studio, commented on the versatility of American hardwood in terms of “the grain and finish”, and how the hardwood is carbon negative upon arrival in India, thus making it attractive in terms of its environmental and sustainability standards.
Rouws elaborated: “I personally believe that American red oak and cherry have the potential to be big in India. As a company, we place great importance on the environmental credentials of the materials we work with and find in American hardwoods a way to continue fulfilling our timber requirements while consuming responsibly.”
Saif Faisal, founder of Studio SFDW, also commented: “Working with cherry was a new experience for me; it was quite fascinating as the wood is quite dense and the grains gorgeous. This inspired me to explore CNC milling with it for objects with finer details and smaller in scale. American white oak in contrast is very strong and its resilience to take any shape and structure. This made it possible for me to achieve a piece that is flatpack with neat joinery and details. The Nightstand in white oak is my favourite as it brings the beauty of natural wood and technology together in a harmonious way.”
AHEC hopes that this collaboration will inspire the next generation of furniture designers and help the Indian market discover the untapped potential of US hardwoods. Below are some examples of the remade furniture items by their respective designers.