Homage to the American broadleaf tree by a trio of designers at an event in Copenhagen from 7 to 9 June

Wood is the material of the future: renewable, sustainable, ductile, ecological: it releases less CO2 than other types of materials; even after it has been processed, it continues to absorb carbon and then decomposes and transforms it into oxygen that is returned to the atmosphere; it has low embodied energy: unlike other materials, it requires a minimum amount of energy-based processing; when it is certified (essence, place of origin, etc.), it is defined as belonging to a controlled process at every stage, from its birth to its deforestation and the subsequent planting of new trees.

Choosing materials for design

From this perspective, the choice of materials with which designers realise their designs has enormous power. They can influence aesthetics, product performance, style trends. They can encourage or hinder the transition to sustainable production and a circular economy and have an impact on global forestry.

Telling the story of wood

On the occasion of 3daysofdesign, from 7 to 9 June in Copenhagen, American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) presents Three, an exhibition that tells the story of wood (specifically three types of American hardwood) through the creative journey of three designers who have explored its design potential, promoting its role in the challenge for the sustainable future of design and architecture and raising awareness of the long-term sustainability of forests.

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Three designers, three women, three creatives

Each of the three designers - Anne Brandhøj (Denmark), Anna Maria Øfstedal (Norway) and Pia Högman (Sweden) - was paired with one of the hardwoods (red oak, maple and cherry) and encouraged to play, experiment, explore. The designers were chosen for their relationship with natural materials, their commitment to sustainability that shines through in their creations, and the poetic beauty that pervades their creativity.

A journey through the American hardwood forest

"Three is the latest chapter in a journey that aims to explore the creative potential of a material like wood whose increasingly widespread use is essential to the long-term sustainability of US hardwood forests. By focusing on young designers who are also makers, we want to promote a new perspective on these woods in the historical context of Nordic design and an exploration of materials," explains David Venables, Director AHEC Europe.

Accepting the challenge

The challenge was to use these types of wood to develop unique objects or pieces of furniture, and to narrate thoughts and discoveries made along the way, generating a narrative made up of videos, sketches, photographs and words. Exhibition Three will present the pieces created and tell the story of how they came into being. "Each design-maker had the task of exploring the material assigned to them and letting this process influence the creative outcome in whatever direction they chose. This is a very different approach from previous projects and a deliberate attempt to put materials at the centre and promote a new perspective on their potential," Venables continues.

Photos by Benjamin Lund