AHEC lends a serving to hand to next-generation designers

by Editorial Team

Throughout this 12 months’s Salone del Cell, we have been delighted to stage a celebration of rising expertise within the worlds of furnishings and product design. For the exhibition – entitled ‘Class of 24’ and held at Triennale Milano – we referred to as on a long-term collaborator, American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), which felt like a pure step, given its unstoppable drive to experiment with timber, and its steady help of numerous approaches to creating by next-generation creatives.

AHEC collaborates on Wallpaper*s ‘Class of 24’ exhibition

A chunk from Parti’s ‘Pirouette’ assortment

(Picture credit score: Tex Bishop)

As a part of the exhibition, AHEC labored carefully with two designers, Giles Tettey Nartey and Eleanor Hill, of Parti Studio, to create new our bodies of labor in American maple. Made in collaboration with London-based furnishings maker Jan Hendzel, the items mirrored each Nartey’s and Hill’s ongoing visible and cultural design analysis, whereas highlighting the qualities and potential of the chosen timber. ‘American laborious maple is a part of a wider narrative of underused species,’ says AHEC’s European director David Venables. One in all his missions is to emphasize the significance of contemplating these timbers. ‘There’s a delusion that timber dwell eternally, however [by not using the wood], you’re leaving a few of your most useful materials within the forest to decay.’


Giles Tettey Nartey photographed at Jan Hendzel’s workshop in April 2024

(Picture credit score: Tex Bishop)

The maple was remodeled by Nartey and Hill into two radically completely different showstoppers. Nartey distilled his British-Ghanaian heritage into ‘Communion’, a big sculptural piece that shaped a part of his ongoing analysis into West African traditions. ‘African craft cultures are a catalyst for reimagining the areas we dwell in,’ he says. This fee grew to become a chance to discover tradition, culinary custom, and the rituals of home life in Ghana. His piece was conceived for the making of fufu – a West African dish shaped by pounding cassava and plantain right into a dough, a secular act that turns into a communal efficiency, the place everybody comes collectively within the shared expertise of getting ready meals.

‘You could have one individual turning and kneading the combination, and the opposite individual standing up with the pestle, pounding it,’ says Nartey. ‘I had at all times seen this course of as a choreography, so I needed to reimagine that form of on a regular basis quotidian act as one thing like a efficiency.’ Characterised by a darkish stain, the voluminous design options 5 workstations with mortars (woduro) and pestles (woma), sculpted by Hendzel utilizing a way that efficiently conveys the huge spectrum of the maple’s grain. The design contains an outer desk for meals preparation, and an inside desk with CNC-carved grooves, bowls and bumps for serving and eating. Seating across the desk is impressed by conventional stools made by the Ashanti individuals of Ghana.


Eleanor Hill of Parti, photographed at Jan Hendzel’s workshop in April 2024

(Picture credit score: Tex Bishop)

In the meantime, Hill’s ‘Pirouette’ assortment explored ‘the frillier sides of artwork and design historical past’, with nods to surrealism, trompe l’oeil and the Rococo interval. Her sequence of vibrant tables and stools was impressed by the fold and circulate of material, pushing the boundaries of a three-axis CNC machine. The fastidiously thought of geometric curves have been sculpted out of laminated boards of laborious maple, refined utilizing conventional woodworking strategies. ‘We’re attempting to take components of surrealist imagery and switch that into bodily actuality by creating lightness and motion out of a usually very uncooked, laborious, dense materials,’ says Hill.


A desk from Eleanor Hill’s ‘Pirouette’ sequence in progress in Jan Hendzel’s workshop in south east London, photographed in April, earlier than heading to Milan to be a part of our‘Class of 24’ showcase, supported by AHEC

(Picture credit score: Tex Bishop)

The ensuing items seem virtually frozen in a second of pleasure, with the impact of motion carved by way of the layers of timber, revealing its wealthy grain. ‘Each [Nartey and Hill] have gone for the celebration of motion of their items,’ observes Venables, who offers due credit score to Hendzel’s ability. ‘I believe loads of the result is due to his intuition as a maker, realizing the strategy and what you assume the wooden will assist you to do. And really studying as you go alongside, a massively expert factor to have the ability to do.’



Nartey at Hendzel’s workshop

(Picture credit score: Tex Bishop)

Supply: Wallpaper

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