AHEC unveils ‘Seed to Seat’ furniture collaborative at ‘Design Days Dubai’
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, has unveiled its ‘Seed to Seat’ furniture collaborative at ‘Design Days Dubai’, the Middle East and South Asia’s only annual fair dedicated to collectible modern and contemporary design works, which opened today (March 14, 2017) and is due to run until March 17. Given an open brief and asked to design ‘something to sit on’, the designers have worked closely with AMBB Furniture Manufacturing and created seven unique pieces using American tulipwood, red oak and cherry. The project in the Middle East is the second phase of ‘Seed to Seat’, which was initially launched in Australia and New Zealand last year.
The seven seats, which were designed and made by some of the most prominent and exciting designers based in the UAE, are on show in a creative display that highlights the sustainable credentials of the American hardwood resource. The designers involved with ‘Seed to Seat’ Dubai are Fadi Sarieddine (Fadi Sarieddine Design Studio), Anna Szonyi (Studio Anna Szonyi), Tarik Al Zaharna (T.ZED Architects), Bruce Paget (Heriot-Watt University - Dubai Campus), George Kahler (Kahler Design), Pallavi Dean (Pallavi Dean Interiors) and Hana Akram (Studio EM). Aiming to demonstrate that sustainability can have substance, AHEC is developing full environmental profiles for each of the finished pieces using its ground-breaking Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research.
“Our collaboration with the seven designers and AMBB Furniture Manufacturing has resulted in a fascinating approach to working with timber, which has made a comeback over the past few years. This unique exercise has not only thrown the spotlight on the beauty of American hardwoods but it has also helped the designers explore the creative potential of underutilized and yet readily-available hardwoods from America,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, India and Oceania. “Seed to Seat was conceived as a way for AHEC to collaborate with high profile designers and to introduce them to U.S. hardwood species that are less well-known in their markets. With the unveiling of these remarkable pieces at Design Days Dubai, the project reconfirms Dubai’s position as a center for design.”
With Seed to Seat, AHEC aims to identify the true environmental impact of design and build on its extensive work with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Incorporating AHEC’s LCA research for 19 American hardwood species and all data concerning materials, energy usage, transport and wastage, which was recorded during the manufacturing process, AHEC is able to assess the full environmental impact for each finished piece. For each design, AHEC has also calculated how many seconds it would take for the wood used to make the piece to be replaced through natural regeneration in the U.S. hardwood forest. Factoring in the size of the forest, annual harvest rates, natural mortality and regeneration rates, AHEC has calculated that it would take a mere 3.32 seconds for all the wood used to grow in the forest.
“The American hardwood forest covers 120 million hectares. Hardwood trees are selectively harvested and replaced with new growth through natural regeneration. Regeneration outstrips harvest and, as a result, this vast resource increases by 130 million cubic metres every year. For illustrative purposes, this is equivalent to around 4.5 million 40 foot containers in volume. Our initial analysis of the entire project revealed that a total of 1.83 cubic metres of solid lumber was used to make the pieces. Significantly, due to the carbon storage properties of wood, for the duration of their lifetimes, all of the seats will keep a total of 673.26kg of CO2 equivalent out of the atmosphere. This project then has enabled us to highlight the full environmental impact of the designs produced and the importance of material selection. Ultimately, we hope this paves the way for a more scientific approach towards specification of timber,” concluded Wiles.