A Celebration of American Tulipwood at Dubai Design Week 2018

American tulipwood was in the spotlight at the fourth edition of Dubai Design Week (DDW), which ran from November 13 – 17, 2018.

A series of collaborative installations and product displays across Dubai highlighted the growing demand and widespread acceptance of American hardwood species by the design community in the UAE at the annual citywide event, which reinforces Dubai’s new status as a UNESCO Creative City of Design.

As part of its mission to develop existing markets and find new markets and applications for American hardwoods, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) collaborated with Dubai Design District (d3) for its ‘Design 100’ initiative and with AR Gallery for its ‘Trapeza’ seating installation at DDW 2018.

Leading the way was the winner of the ‘Design 100’ initiative – the ‘Reading Bench’ – by designer duo Sakina Kara-Sabur and Alicia Spoljar from BySOZO Interiors, who beat the competition and captured the attention of the expert jury.

Organized in collaboration with Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organization and with AHEC as a Knowledge Partner, the contest was open to all designers specializing in furniture and functional objects across the UAE.

d3 produced 100 pieces of the winning work in American tulipwood, which were then made available for sale to the public at AED 3,000 per bench at Dubai Design Week, with all proceeds from the sale donated to Dubai Cares.

Designed by Apical Reform and manufactured by Speedwell Decor, Trapeza was on display in the public outdoor area in front of AR Gallery in Building 6, d3, for the duration of the festival.

The basic design idea behind Trapeza was to create an interactive installation out of American tulipwood that is built to be adapted by the users. The configurable twist of Trapeza allows endless possibilities for indoor as well as outdoor spaces.

The bench, which is formed using a total of 17 modules, gives a seamless linear and non-linear seating option and allows for different placements and the efficient use of any space. Each module of Trapeza is purely inspired by geometry and the form has been achieved by subtractive, additive as well as dimensional transformation of the basic solid trapezium.

“One objective of Trapeza is to raise awareness of the versatility, color and the beauty of American tulipwood when used as a material. With Trapeza, we continue to provide innovative pieces for the public outdoor area. Our successful collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council enabled us to bring Trapeza to life,” said Amrish Patel, Principal and Founder, Apical Reform.

“Even the tiniest twist in the solid trapezium can create a number of new possibilities and this leads to the efficient use of space.

Commercially, Trapeza is a right fit for universities and malls; it can be made in various colors and can be arranged in different shapes for public seating.” Incorporating AHEC’s Life Cycle Assessment (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 was able to assess the full environmental impact for the finished piece.

A total of 0.48 cubic meters of American tulipwood lumber was used to make all 17 modules.

Factoring in the size of the forest, annual harvest rates, natural mortality and regeneration rates, AHEC also calculated that it would take less than half a second for all the tulipwood used to be replaced by natural growth in the American hardwood forest.

“The American forest resource covers 120 million hectares – equivalent to about fourteen times the size of the UAE.

Despite transporting tulipwood from the U.S.

to the UAE for the manufacturing of Trapeza, the timber is better than carbon neutral at the point of delivery to the factory in Dubai.

This is because the total carbon emissions associated with transport and all steps to extract tulipwood logs, mill and kiln dry the timber is more than offset by carbon stored in the timber.

Further, U.S. government forest inventory data shows that every year the volume of tulipwood in U.S. forests grows on average by 32 million m3, of which only 13 million m3 is harvested. This means the volume standing in U.S. hardwood forests expands by 19 million m3 every year,” concluded Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.

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