Houtlander and AHEC to bring 'The Preservation Bench' to India this summer

The collaboration between American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and the South African design studio uses American white oak for a modern take on spindle furniture.

by STIRworld Published on : Mar 16, 2020

A collaborative installation between Houtlander, a South African furniture design studio, and AHEC (American Hardwood Export Council), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry - The Preservation Bench - is known for its modern take on spindle furniture. Houtlander’s two principal designers - Phillip Hollander and Stephen Wilson - re-worked their signature style to celebrate the sapling growing from the forest floor, seeking the light and growing further towards the canopy. The bench is a visual representation of the furniture ‘coming out of the air’ for its zero carbon qualities, and is meant to suggest the form and function of a park tree with a bench offering some shade.

The Preservation Benches are inspired from the growth of the sapling from the forest floor towards the canopy | Preservation Bench | Houtlander, AHEC | STIRworld
The Preservation Benches are inspired from the growth of the sapling from the forest floor towards the canopy Image Credit: Courtesy of Brett Rubin

The Preservation Bench will soon be making its debut in India, as it is set to be part of Index – an interior design exhibition. The installation would be on display in Mumbai in June, and in July will make its presence at the New Delhi edition.

The Preservation Benches with minimal environmental footprint | Preservation Bench | Houtlander, AHEC | STIRworld
The Preservation Benches with minimal environmental footprint Image Credit: Courtesy of Brett Rubin

As per Houtlander, no other material used for furniture can be as carbon negative as American oak. According to calculations by AHEC, all the white oak used to make the bench would be replaced through natural regeneration in the US hardwood forest in less than one second and, while in use, the Preservation Bench will keep 733 kg of CO2 equivalent out of the atmosphere.

The Preservation Benches are soon to be presented in Mumbai and Delhi, India | Preservation Bench | Houtlander, AHEC | STIRworld
The Preservation Benches are soon to be presented in Mumbai and Delhi, India Image Credit: Courtesy of Brett Rubin

“With a minimal environmental footprint, which speaks to the inspiration behind it, we hope this unique commission will inspire the next generation of furniture designers and specifiers in India whilst demonstrating the versatility and beauty of American hardwoods and the ability to push the limits of the material,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director.

The Preservation Benches are created from American oak | Preservation Bench | Houtlander, AHEC | STIRworld
The Preservation Benches are created from American oak Image Credit: Courtesy of Brett Rubin

The Preservation Bench, first presented at 100% Design South Africa in August 2019 was earlier made in thermally-modified American red oak and then recreated in American white oak for Downtown Design Dubai, presented in November 2019. New pieces to be presented soon in India are to be built in American white oak since it is intended to remain indoors. Three grounded benches in American white oak curve into one gravity-defying twisted form that seemingly disappears into the air.

The Preservation Benches are a new modern twist to spindle furniture | Preservation Bench | Houtlander, AHEC | STIRworld
The Preservation Benches are a new modern twist to spindle furniture Image Credit: Courtesy of Brett Rubin

Houtlander will also showcase its award-winning ‘Interdependence Two’ bench, a twisted slatted seat for two people to sit intimately facing each other.

‘Interdependence Two’ by Houtlander | Preservation Bench | Houtlander, AHEC | STIRworld
‘Interdependence Two’ by Houtlander Image Credit: Courtesy of Hayden Phipps

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