The Legacy Project – an exhibition by the American Hardwood Export Council at imm cologne 2020. Photo: Petr Krejci, courtesy of AHEC
In the summer of 2019, ten leaders of London’s cultural institutions joined some of Europe’s most exciting designers to create a "legacy piece" that they would like to pass on to a family member or the institution they lead. The ten pieces, all crafted by using American red oak, cannot be more different. However, they are connected by their claim to be sustainable and to survive generations. In January 2020, the Legacy exhibition will make its debut in Germany at imm cologne.
Sir John Sorrell, chairman of London Design Festival, launched this extraordinary collaboration in May this year. Ten exclusive pieces were created in collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and English furniture manufacturer Benchmark Furniture, whose Berkshire workshop made the pieces over the summer.
Natural material with special properties
The Legacy pieces are everyday objects with designs inspired by the needs of each individual commissioner or cultural institution. From an LP record shelf for the office, to two sofas for a meeting room, to a post box for visitors - the versatile, sometimes complex designs are also intended to represent the handling of American red oak as a material. Red oak is characterized by its exceptional robustness and durability and can be easily machined or steam-bent. The fine grain and the warm colouring of the wood provide a special look.
"We wanted to create a project that highlighted the suitability of the American red oak for furniture manufacturing, while testing the performance and quality of this abundant wood. AHEC always strives to increase the potential applications for American hardwoods," says AHEC European Director David Venables. "Legacy is a great project with incredible designers. We are absolutely delighted with the resulting objects, which will hopefully be admired by many generations to come." Visitors to imm cologne 2020 will find the exhibition near the south entrance, in the passage between halls 3 and 11.