Simin Qiu turns wood offcuts into patterned desk accessories

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Simin Qiu turns wood offcuts into patterned desk accessories for End Grain collection

Graduate shows 2015: tiny pieces of waste pine wood were meticulously hand-glued together by Royal College of Art graduate Simin Qiu to create these storage boxes and stationery items.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

Qiu's End Grain collection includes rectangular, triangular and hexagonal containers for storing small objects. There's also a clock, a ruler and a sliding box for keeping pencils in.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

Each is patterned with zigzag and herringbone motifs, created by cutting offcuts of pine into five-millimetre-thick pieces and then glueing them together in alternate orientations.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

The designer's aim was to utilise the properties of the wood's composition, similar to a project of the same name by London design studio Raw Edges.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

While Raw Edges used the tiny tubes that make up the wood to transfer coloured dye through sections of the material, Qiu focused on the wood's natural patterns and translucency.

"I designed some simple forms like boxes to give more chance to show the material's beauty," said the designer, explaining that the size of the objects was dictated by the timber offcuts.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

Qiu also found that by cutting the pine into 10-millimetre slices across the grain, the microscopic tubes allow a small amount of light to pass through.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

Rather than utilise this feature for the accessories, he also created a window shutter to demonstrate the translucency and its potential for architectural applications.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

Pine is commonly used in the furniture and construction industries because the trees grow quickly, meaning that the soft wood is relatively cheap.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

However, sections of the material go to waste if they can't be used for large products, so Qiu wanted to highlight ways in which these pieces can be utilised.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

"I want people to know that pine has a high-value application, and provides a good example of how to use off-cut timber," said Qiu.

End Grain by Simin Qiu

Qiu created the End Grain collection while studying on the RCA's Design Products programme. The project is on display at the Show RCA 2015 graduate exhibition in London, which runs from 25 June to 5 July, along with a wooden spiral staircase that straps around any tree trunk and a collection of objects built using a new material made from plant fibres and naturally fermented cellulose.