Sara Martinsen creates sculpture that presents the qualities of an underutilised wood species

Designer Sara Martinsen has created a sculptural object called Red Oak Circuit Presented as part of Dezeen x The Mindcraft Project 2022, which intends to demonstrate the qualities of American red oak.

Martinsen's Red Oak Circuit is a circular sculpture made from small rectangular pieces of red oak that show the distinct patterns of the wood's end and cross grain.

Red Oak Circuit in a gallery space
Martinsen's sculpture highlights the distinct patterns of red oak's end and cross grain

According to Martinsen, red oak is underutilised in comparison to European white oak and Red Oak Circuit intends to highlight the wood species as an alternative.

It was selected as one of 10 pieces included in the Mindcraft Project – a yearly event that aims to showcase forward-thinking Danish design.

"Red Oak Circuit is part of a continuing exploration into the traits of various natural materials through a combination of theoretical knowledge building and a hands-on approach to form," said The Mindcraft Project.

"Whilst investigating the over-reliance on European white oak within the furniture and interior industry, Martinsen spotted the potential in American red oak species that share the aesthetic qualities and strength of the former."

Red Oak Circuit, a wooden sculptural form in a gallery next to its designer
Red Oak Circuit is made from small rectangular pieces of off-cut red oak

According to Martinsen, white and red oak differ as red oak has an open end grain, while white oak's is closed. This makes red oak increasingly porous and provides the ability for smoke and air to pass through it.

Martinsen intends to encourage users to interact with the piece while promoting awareness of its material qualities through  "balanced and well-proportioned shapes coming together in mathematical harmony".

"Mathematically precise yet aesthetically minimal, Red Oak Circuit expresses these characteristics through the repeated shift in end and cross grain sections of wood," said The Mindcraft Project.

"Using off-cut rectangular pieces of red oak, the final form aims to highlight the relevance and beauty of unused material."

Red Oak Circuit, a wooden sculptural form in a gallery
The sculpture intends to highlight how red oak is an alternative to white oak, which is overconsumed

Red Oak Circuit was made in collaboration with American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and furniture brand Brdr Krüger.

Martinsen is based in Copenhagen and intends to create designs that "tell stories with centuries-old materials" while gaining an understanding of natural materials' strengths and weaknesses.

She aims to combine a hands-on experimental approach to design with theoretical knowledge based on craft history and natural science and creates not only free-standing objects but large wall and ceiling sculptures.

Dezeen x The Mindcraft Project 2022

Dezeen x The Mindcraft Project 2022 is a partnership between Dezeen and Copenhagen Design Agency. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.