Timber Design Awards showcase timber ingenuity

Friday 2 Oct 2020

Australia’s annual Timber Design Awards, which show off the latest structures and furniture using milled or engineered wood as the lead material, have always been a reliably interesting forum for checking out what’s going down – or up – in the latest application of one of nature’s loveliest materials.

But as revealed in this year’s 101 entries across 25 categories – from stand-alone installations to big commercial buildings largely made of, or lined with, wood in some sort of iteration – a material once restricted to being milled into planks, veneers, particle boards or poles can now be applied to be so apparently fluid that it can make spaces with all manner of curvy volumes.

As the Timber Development Association’s long-time chief executive Andrew Dunn says, “I’ve given up trying to define what the end possibilities of timber are because as soon as we say ‘that can’t be done’, someone will come up with a machine that can do it.” The awards had just a couple of categories when they were started by the association two decades ago to demonstrate the excellence of timber.

With the explosion of possibilities made available by computers that can be programmed “to so accurately, [relatively] cheaply and easily form shapes from big slabs of wood”, says Dunn, this year’s 21st awards show how excited architects, designers, cabinet makers and builders are in being aided to make things that go so far beyond boxy shapes that the envelope of limitations has been detonated.

While five judges, including last year’s overall winner James Fitzpatrick of fitzpatrick + partners, got to select the best in each category – and as always Australia’s best designers and makers eagerly lined up against talented small-scale creatives – the public also gets to adjudge the spectacular 2020 line-up of entries to select their “People’s Choice” winner.

Dunn says the overall winner is a highly prized accolade in the industry, but second for the entrants is to be named as the people’s choice best in show. “And like the packing room prize of the Archibald [portrait] prize, normally the people’s choice is not what the judges choose. The people look at it differently.”

Having been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 presentation of the awards has been pushed back to late November and will be made available on the night via YouTube. Public voting for the people’s choice award closes on September 30. Details on the awards and voting can be found here.

Photo: TDA

Source: Commercial Real Estate

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