The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) presents Discovered – an exhibition dedicated to showcasing young designers on an international scale. In partnership with Wallpaper* and the London Design Museum, 20 emerging designers from 16 countries, including three Australian designers, were given the opportunity to partake in the global exhibition.
Presenting an array of objects, furniture pieces and sculptural works in wood, Discovered has allowed designers to unveil a series of personal reflections on life – increasingly digital and isolated – within the pandemic. The designers have worked alongside a number of industry professionals and mentors, crafting work out of their choice of four sustainable hardwoods – cherry, hard and soft maple, and America red oak. “Discovered is a unique opportunity for us as we will be joining forces with the other AHEC regional offices in a creative project for the first time,” explains Rod Wiles, Director AHEC Oceania. “Together with Wallpaper*, we have selected an extremely exciting line-up of designers from 16 different countries – three of whom are from Australia.”
Channelling the theme of isolation and reconnection, the exhibition has given emerging designers the opportunity to present their work to the global public. The 20 designers were encouraged to think freely about their experience of the pandemic, as they investigated the three themes of touch, reflection and strength, as well as ideas such as identity, family, cultural heritage and social experiences. This open brief resulted in a dynamic selection of pieces from each designer, all uniquely their own. Three Australian designers were selected for the exhibition – Vivienne Wong from Melbourne who presented ‘Iuxta Me’ (meaning ‘beside me’ in Latin) in American cherry; Duncan Young from Adelaide who used American hard maple to craft Shelter Within; and, also from Adelaide, Ivana Young who created Reframe using American hard maple, cherry and red oak.
“This project has enabled us to give [participants] a valuable learning experience on product design and development with sustainable hardwood,” Rod says. “We are also fortunate to have had input from Designer-Maker Adam Markowitz as a mentor for the Australian designers and also those from Korea and Japan.” Adam joined fellow panellists Sarah Douglas, Mac Collins and Discovered participant Ivana Taylor to speak on the exhibition at Sydney Design Week. “This is a time when the next generation needs support more than ever,” explains Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief of Wallpaper*, “so we are honoured to partner with AHEC in launching Discovered – to ensure the designers of tomorrow have the platform they deserve.” The Sydney Design Week event, which is available online on demand, explored the exhibition’s themes and ways design can help to reconnect today’s digitally reliant society.
Channelling the theme of isolation and reconnection, the exhibition has given emerging designers the opportunity to present their work to the global public.
Discovered utilised four global workshop hubs – Benchmark in Berkshire, United Kingdom; Wewood in Gandra, Portugal; Fowseng in Johor, Malaysia, and Evostyle Sydney, Australia. Evostyle is a world-class manufacturing factory with three generations of woodturning and joinery experience. The manufacturers work closely with many Australian high-end furniture brands and is dedicated to using sustainable American hardwoods. Similarly, Evostyle is also committed to ensuring furniture-making skills are handed down to future generations.
Discovered has been “a great opportunity to showcase the capability of Australian design on a global stage,” Rod reflects. All 20 participants’ work will be on display during the London Design Festival at the Design Museum from 13 September to 10 October 2021, showcasing the creativity and versatility of each design and celebrating their chosen wood materials.