The Wood Awards: Flagship for wood in the best of British architecture, furniture and design
The Wood Awards have been supporting excellence in the world’s only naturally sustainable material for over forty years. The winners of this year’s awards were announced last night in front of a crowd of over 200 leading industry and architectural figures.
The Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft by Adam Richards Architects was crowned the “winners of winners”, taking the Arnold Laver Gold Award along with the Existing Building category prize. Judge, Hugh Pearman, editor of RIBA Journal and architecture critic for the Sunday Times said, “The Arnold Laver Gold Award this year sums everything up, really. It is an exemplary little low-budget rural museum by an architect to note for the future. A mix of new-build and restoration, of ancient techniques co-existing happily with the high technology of today, it adroitly uses a mixed palette of materials that suits its context admirably – and is designed in such a way as to waste practically nothing. Wood is the original building material. Using it is like meeting an old friend”.
Our own Sean Sutcliffe led the judging of the Furniture categories. He was really impressed with the quality of entrants and took great pleasure in the “creativity, aesthetic understanding and craftsmanship” that he saw in the winning pieces. The Bespoke Furniture Award was won by Makers’ Eye – a collective of leading designer-makers working in Britain today – for their ‘Oak Furniture for the Dickson Poon Centre’ at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford. High-quality pieces in solid European oak were specified in the brief, made within tight budgetary constraints. Makers’ Eye created a family of products with a clear design signature to complement the subtle Oriental influence of the architecture. In total there were 177 pieces.
Fowler & Co’s ‘Hat Tree’ took the Production Made Furniture Award. Inspired by clothes hung on twigs protruding from a hedge, the Hat Tree impressed the judges because “it offers a softwood solution where often another material would be used. The designer has had a creative idea and adapted it to the rigours of the production process. This is a true production piece, available to buy in the shops.”
Other category winners included The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London by McCurdy & Co for the Commercial & Public Access Award; House No. 7 in Tiree, Scotland by Denizen Works for the Private Award; Alfriston School Swimming Pool in Beaconsfield by Duggan Morris Architect for the Structural Award, and the small but perfectly formed Studio in Oxford by James Wyman Architects for the Small Project Award.
Two Judges’ Special Awards were given this year. The first went to dRMM Architects and team for Endless Stair, created in American tulipwood CLT for the London Design Festival. The second was awarded to specialist joinery company Jack Badger Ltd for their Hand carved Gothic doors; two ornate pairs of Gothic oak doors with hand-carved tracery on both sides, constructed using traditional techniques and using 100% oak for the construction, with no glues or screws or modern fixings. Jack Badger worked with its apprentices on the project, giving them a chance to learn new skills which are in rapid decline and also giving them a sense of personal pride and achievement.