American Hardwood earned overwhelming signs of approval and confidence from the region’s top interior designers and architects during the recently concluded ‘ifi09 Dubai’, the 24th General Assembly of the ‘International Federation of Interior Designers and Architects’ and the ‘World Interior Design Congress 2009’. Playing a significant role in the prominent display of hardwoods at the event, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, which also participated as a gold sponsor, supported the presence of two renowned keynote speakers, Interior Architect Patrick Fong from Hong Kong and British Furniture Designer/Maker Luke Hughes. Both experts have worked with American hardwoods and are familiar with the benefits and advantages gained from using the material for their creations.
A prominent exhibition at the AHEC stand greeted delegates during the event, including large wooden scale models of David Adjaye’s American tulipwood pavilion ‘Sclera’, which was built for the London Design Festival; and Philip Koomen’s ‘Wave and Splash’ tulipwood bench from the Hay Literary Festival. These were supplemented with graphic panels explaining their architectural credentials, and giving details of the US hardwood materials used in the illustrated projects. AHEC also distributed its newly launched ‘Guide to Species’ and ‘Hardwood References’ brochures, along with a pamphlet of the environmental facts about American hardwoods.
“’ifi09 Dubai’ offered AHEC a unique opportunity to highlight the potential offered by American hardwoods in interior design and architecture”, said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Consultant. “Although a global gathering of design professionals, the event was very well attended by interior designers and architects from the Middle East where interest in, and specification of, American hardwoods has gained momentum during the past decade. AHEC’s support underlined how committed the US hardwood industry is to ensuring reliable and long term supplies of American hardwoods to the Middle East region.”
Luke Hughes held a one day furniture design workshop entitled ‘Furniture, A Master Class’, which appealed to the young designers who attended the congress. Covering the many aspects of design, materials and working with wood, and showcasing the host of projects wherein he utilised the advantages of American hardwoods, Luke drew particular attention to the capacity of wood to adapt to changes in humidity and not temperature, which makes kiln dried American hardwood ideal for designers in the Middle East. These sustainable species, which are ideal for making furniture, joinery, flooring and cabinetry, include red and white oak, ash, cherry, maple, tulipwood and walnut.
In addition, Patrick Fong spoke at the congress and discussed the potential for American Hardwoods in the region. His work has included such high profile projects as the ‘Pacific Place’, ‘Times Square’, ‘Hang Seng Bank’ and the ‘China World Trade Center’. Luke Hughes re-designed the Scottish ‘Supreme Court Library’ in Edinburgh, designed the UK ‘Supreme Court’, furniture for over fifty Oxford and Cambridge colleges, twenty five major public libraries, five royal palaces, as well as countless corporate boardrooms.
“We are proud that American hardwoods have earned the confidence of these two trailblazing design professionals, which underline the exceptional benefits of these products in the architecture and furniture design industries. Our successful participation at the ‘ifi09 Dubai’ event bodes well for our plans to further entrench our presence in the region in the coming years,” concluded Wiles.
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