Volume 23, No.07 - July 2015
Out with the old
STRIPPING OUT THE OLD WOOD TO SEE THE NEW TIMBER INTERIOR
For readers of a certain generation, the very suggestion of a wooden interior is likely to conjure up images of stripped pine furniture and sanded floors, but the world of wood has moved on considerably since the heady days of the 70s when the BBC comedy series ‘The Good Life’ celebrated a simpler approach to domestic existence and when DIY (whether implemented well or badly) was all the rage. Imperceptibly, wood has in fact gone upmarket over the past 40 or so years, to the extent that it now permeates not only our domestic internal environments, but also those of our commercial, cultural and educational facilities.
So what are the altered circumstances that have made wood popular again and indeed to see it now regarded as a high quality, high value contributor to the modern interior? Sure, the material’s tactility and feeling of warmth are still important characteristics, but it is not the heavily grained, knotted and varnished boards so prevalent in the 70s that appeal today: it is the durability and stability of highly engineered wood-based components as well as other properties that have transformed perceptions. Take the world of flooring alone: there are now literally hundreds of composite, laminated or modified wood systems on the market with a price spectrum that ranges from the relatively inexpensive to more eye-watering levels on a par with materials generally considered to be in the luxury cost bracket. Whilst internationally the domestic market for wood flooring is enormous, it is in the interior areas of larger public buildings that wood has made a new and highly visible impression and stimulated new design approaches.
The irregular wooden surfaces to the foyer of Oslo’s Opera House provide visibly rich texture and invisible sound dampening.