AHEC Launches Collaboration with Five Indian Furniture Designers

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“REMAKE” was conceived as a response to the need for hands-on experience with American Hardwoods in India’s rapidly expanding furniture manufacturing sector.

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The American Hardwood Export Council recently announced the launch of ‘REMAKE’, its first major design collaboration with Indian furniture designers. The project challenges the leading designer-makers to each select three pieces from their existing furniture range and to remake them using American Hardwoods. This is the first design collaboration by AHEC involving Indian designers and it builds on prior initiatives, which have aimed to educate Indian specifiers and manufacturers on the unique properties and aesthetics of American Hardwoods. The timing is crucial.  India is now the fifth largest global importer of Hardwood lumber, yet the U.S.—the world’s largest exporter–has a miniscule 1 percent market share. Clearly this needs to change.

REMAKE was conceived as a response to the need for hands-on experience with American Hardwoods in India’s furniture manufacturing sector. In response to the brief, the designers have been asked to choose three of their own existing pieces and remake them using American Red Oak, Cherry, Maple, Hickory or Tulipwood. AHEC will be supplying all the lumber for the project from a stock of American Hardwood species held in India, which was generously donated to AHEC by Allegheny Wood Products.

“Running an effective American Hardwood promotion program in India sometimes presents challenges due to the geographic size of the market and the fragmented nature of much of the trade and industry. However, despite not being able to travel to India since the beginning of 2020, AHEC has been able to remotely launch this exciting new project with five furniture manufacturers,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC’s Dubai-based Regional Director. “The wealth of legally-harvested and sustainably-managed Hardwoods that the United States has to offer is of increasing interest to India’s furniture manufacturers, as they seek to explore new materials, look for long-term alternatives to traditional furniture Hardwoods and also widen their appeal to their intended markets, be they in India itself or overseas.”

The onset of COVID-19 and the enforced lockdowns actually enabled AHEC to spend a lot of time conducting in-depth research into India’s furniture manufacturing sector and to identify a significant 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. In most cases, these companies are using European Oak, Ash and Beech.  It is obvious that American Hardwoods are not yet well-known or understood in much of India and only a handful of manufacturers have hands-on experience with working with them. This lack of experience and lack of collective knowledge means that, to most manufacturers (and consumers), American Hardwoods remain somewhat unknown.  It is our goal to change that narrative.

We are very excited, not only by the caliber of the designers involved in this project, but also by the fabulous pieces that we look forward to seeing in these versatile, yet less well-known American Hardwood species. REMAKE will explore how these designers champion a beautiful and sustainable material – American Hardwood – in a market that holds tremendous potential.

For more information on AHEC and our global promotional program—or to become a member—please visit us online at www.americanhardwood.org or www.ahec.org or contact Tripp Pryor at tpryor@ahec.org

By Michael Snow

By Michael Snow, Executive Director, American Hardwood Export Council, Sterling, Va 703-435-2900 www.ahec.org

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By Michael Snow

By Michael Snow, Executive Director, American Hardwood Export Council, Sterling, Va 703-435-2900 www.ahec.org

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