'Wood has always been a flexible and indispensible material for interior and exterior design. Here, we trace current developments and concerns regarding wood'
Wood has been an integral part of design from times unknown. It is difficult to imagine a functional interior space that does not use wood. Flexible and aesthetic, wood and wood products like plywood, fibreboard, veneer, etc bring spaces to life. Be it a piece of furniture, a structural partition, a decorative carving or a frame for a piece of art, making it in wood is guaranteed to bring an aura of stability and elegance to the element of design.
The ply-able option
Given environmental considerations and the cost of solid wood, people are looking for alternative materials that retain most of the features of the original product, and plywood is currently the strongest contender for a substitute.
For structures and furniture, plywood is preferred over solid wood as it is lighter, more cost effective and is available in a variety of thicknesses. There are other value-added varieties of plywood, such as water-resistant plywood, termite and borer- resistant plywood and even fire-retardant plywood. Flexiply is a version of plywood which is ideal for furniture.
Wood beneath your feet
Wooden floorings, oft used in the west, have become a rage in India in recent years. The market, at present, is brimming with flooring options such as laminated wooden flooring, engineered wooden flooring and hardwood wooden flooring. Wood mosaics have also entranced the creative minds in the industry and customers who are looking for something different and unique.
While wood is ubiquitous in living spaces, the way it is used is taking an innovative turn in this day and age. Wooden artefacts and even washbasins are finding a place in luxury spaces. It is no longer a material used to strengthen the base of design; it can now be a decorative feature in its own right. Farah Ahmed and Dhaval Shellugar, Partners, FADD Studio, Bengaluru provide an example of this trend. In a flower shop they designed, they have used bamboo veneer in circles inspired by Zen concentric circles to create a striking design element. 'Since we wanted to highlight the flowers, we didn't want too much happening on the walls; and so we shifted our attention to the ceiling. Procuring the bamboo veneer wasn't an easy task since it is not too common, but it played an important role in fusing the ceiling element with the bamboo furniture in the store,' share Ahmed and Shellugar.
Apart from the interiors, wood can also be used in the exteriors for pretty pergolas, decks etc. Specially treated wood is available for outdoor use and is perfect for creating landscaping elements as well. Ankura Patel, Director, ANA Designs likes using wood. 'It is a very versa-¡tile material and imparts a plush look to the space. From intricate carvings to delicate motifs, it can be shaped into any form. It is timeless and classic and hence can be used anywhere and everywhere in interiors,' she says.
It is not surprising, then, that she uses wood in many of her office projects, on the floor, on the ceiling to create wooden panels, for doors, as partitions, as wall cladding, and of course, for furniture. In fact, most designers believe that wood is ideal for use in an office because it absorbs sound and offers a very corporate look and feel to spaces. An additional advantage is that cleaning wooden surfaces, especially laminated ones, is very easy.
Challenges to overcome
However, Patel expresses some concerns and expectations regarding wood that is widely shared by her fraternity. Efficient service, quality product and wide availability are what she expects market suppliers of wood and wood products to provide. She also shares her fears about lack of genuineness of products available in the market and the increasing cost of wood and its products, which takes the total cost of the project much higher. She points out that availability and lack of skilled workmanship are the biggest challenges currently faced by designers, due to which there seems to be a shift from using wood to newer materials.
It is for the producers and suppliers of wood and ply to address these concerns and remove the perceived bottlenecks. Because wood is worth the effort!
ANA Designs, 4 B1/B2
Takshila, Mahakali Caves Rd, Andheri East, Mumbai - 400 093.
Tel: 022-4225 3227.
FADD Studio, 102, First Floor, Sophias Choice,
No 7, St Marks Road, Bengaluru - 560 001.
Tel: 080-222 2366.