As part of our ongoing promotion of underutilized species of American Hardwoods, AHEC is working with three designer-makers from the Nordic regions – Norway, Sweden and Denmark – in a three-timber making challenge. They will create a final piece/object in either Red Oak, Maple or Cherry to be showcased in an exhibition that will be held at 3daysofdesign in Copenhagen in June 2023. The project aims to shine a light on these timbers’ versatility, aesthetics, and technical performance.
To kickstart the project, AHEC hosted a workshop in Copenhagen to meet the designers involved and provide them with a technical briefing for Three. During this session, the designers were randomly allocated one of the three timbers to work with and briefed on its performance and characteristics to help inform their design process. Hand samples and copies of ‘A guide to sustainable American Hardwoods’ were supplied to the designers to provide further information and reference points.
As part of the design phase, each designer will now carry out experimental research into their allocated material, testing its properties and learning more about how it can be used. They will document their experiences and process of working with the material and this content will be used as part of the exhibition. The 3daysofdesign event in Copenhagen is the latest in our outreach to European design, continuing the work of recent projects like SLOW and Natural Connections for the Madrid Design Festival earlier this year.
From 2010 to 2015, the average value of Red Oak lumber exported to Europe was $8.5 million per year. After years of outreach to the European industry through design projects, technical seminars, and industry networking, the United States doubled our European Red Oak market to an average of $19.9 million from 2016-2020, and since 2021, the market has doubled again – reaching exports of over $37.5 million in Red Oak lumber to Europe in 2021, and over $56 million in 2022. That’s 50 percent from the previous record high. Compared to the average value from 2010 to 2015, this growth from $8.5 million per year up to over $56 million has added over $125 million in new Red Oak exports to Europe since 2010.