Out of the Woods
at the V&A museum

| 3 comments

Out of the Woods

London Design Festival: every scrap of material and minute of production time was carefully recorded during the manufacturing of these twelve wooden chairs, helping the Royal College of Art students that designed them to measure each one's sustainability.

Out of the Woods

Above: Floating Chair by Bobby Petersen and Tom Gottelier
Top: Well Proven Chair by James Shaw and Marjan van Aubel 

The data was used to produce life-cycle assessments, charting the projected lifespan of each chair against the cost of resources and processes needed to produce it.

Out of the Woods

Above: Travelling Bench by Nicholas Gardner and David Horan

The entire collection was manufactured from different hardwoods and includes a flatpack bench (above), a stool held together with string (below) and a one-man boat.

Out of the Woods

Above: Snelson by Sam Weller

The Well Proven Chair (top) is formed from timber shavings mixed with bio-resin, which together form a sloppy paste that hardens as it dries.

Out of the Woods

Above: Folded Chair by Norie Matsumoto

The Folded Chair (above) has an asymmetric structure that collapses for easy storage, while the Solitude chair (below) has solid sides and was inspired by church seating in Cyprus.

Out of the Woods

Above: Solitude by Mary Argyrou

Santi Guerrero Font used a strong ash to create his chair (below) so that he could slim down the thickness from 20 millimetres to 12.

Out of the Woods

Above: Num. 4 by Santi Guerrero Font

Lauren Davies produced her high-back chair (below) using offcuts from nine different types of wood, while Michael Warren created his stool (below that) from a single piece of timber.

Out of the Woods

Above: Leftovers Chair by Lauren Davies

The students worked with manufacturer Benchmark to build the chairs and were supervised by tutors Sebastian Wrong and Harry Richardson.

Out of the Woods

Above: Designed Legacy by Michael Warren

Commissioned by the American Hardwood Export Council, the collection was exhibited at the V&A museum, as part of the London Design Festival.

Out of the Woods

Above: Squeeze by Nicholas Wallenberg

Twelve writers have also penned stories and poems imagining the life story of each chair, which are presented together as a book with photographs by Petr Krejčí.

Out of the Woods

Above: Beeeench by Petter Thörne

See all our stories from the London Design Festival »

Out of the Woods

Above: Tree Furniture by Anton Alvarez

Here's some more text from the exhibition organisers:


An innovative collaboration between the American Hardwood Export Council and the Royal College of Art Design Products programme offers a fascinating approach to working with an age-old material – American hardwood.

Out of the Woods

Out of the Woods explores the creative and environmental potential of this naturally renewable material by looking at the entire life cycle of each product. Working with British furniture producer Benchmark, internationally renowned for its craftsmanship in wood, RCA students – under tutors Sebastian Wrong (Established & Sons) and Harry Richardson (Committee) – have each designed a chair or seat using American Hardwood.

Out of the Woods

The production was carefully monitored with the help of sustainability experts, p.e. international, to prepare an accurate life cycle impact report for each chair. The reports contribute to AHEC’s on-going research into hardwood’s sustainability credentials and inform the students of the full cradle-to-grave environmental impact of their design and material choices. Inspired by the life cycle of each chair, twelve well known writers have created a work of art to tell the story: Adventures of Twelve hardwood Chairs.

Out of the Woods

  • http://www.futureshelter.com Jane

    Where can we buy the book with the photos and poems in?

  • http://www.adamionline.com Deborah Murphy

    Wow, wow, wow! As an interior designer focusing on sustainability these chairs are fantastic. I was thrilled to see the creativity, innovation, and recycling that went into each and every one of these wonderful works of art. Congratulations to all the designers as well as the writers who contributed their works of words.

  • Sam

    You can buy the book at the V&A shop, I think it's still available there.