by Zohra KhanFeb 12, 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 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.
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.
“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 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.
Houtlander will also showcase its award-winning ‘Interdependence Two’ bench, a twisted slatted seat for two people to sit intimately facing each other.