Wood in architecture
'Win, Victory, & Love’, a collaborative installation between respected Emirati designer Khalid Shafar and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, was unveileat Downtown Design at Dubai Design District. Using two important American hardwood species - American cherry and soft maple - Shafar has created his installation in memory of the 45 brave UAE soldiers who gave their lives in Yemen this September.
According to Shafar, the installation reflects on the recent tragedy the United Arab Emirates experienced for the first time in its military history, where 45 of its brave soldiers lost their lives during their mission in Yemen and commemorates those brave and unforgotten Emirati soldiers.
Shafar has created a total of 45 crafted wooden stools in American cherry and soft maple, set graciously in a site-specific installation and presented in a harmonious setting. Derived from Shafar’s well-known LITTLE PALM stool, the hardwood stools have been upholstered in an original military uniform textile. Inspired by the palm trees of the region, which demonstrate great resilience against the harsh weather of the area, the LITTLE PALM stool is a perfect metaphor for the brave soldiers who lost their lives, but will be remembered forever.
“Taking its name from the famous three-finger salute that was introduced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in February 2013 during the Government Summit in Dubai, ‘Win, Victory, & Love’ is an innovative trademark for work ethic, success and love for the nation” said Khalid Shafar. “This is my second collaboration with AHEC and it has allowed me to work with two wonderful hardwoods on a project that pays tribute to our fallen heroes.”
Downtown Design is the only platform in the Middle East for the region’s trade professionals to discover original, high quality design from all over the world and a key element of Dubai Design Week. In its third edition, the fair will take place at the Dubai Design District and present a carefully edited roster of established and emerging brands across a range of product categories; including furniture, lighting, bathrooms, kitchens, textiles and accessories. Fostering greater interaction, connectivity and commercial opportunity, Downtown Design is dedicated to providing a dynamic environment for buyers and brands to do business easily and efficiently.
“Our involvement with Khalid Shafar and Downtown Design is at the core of what we do to celebrate the potential of American hardwoods. By supporting installations for events like Downtown Design, we can be experimental with American hardwood species through exploration of design and craftsmanship. We also want to ignite new thinking and excite designers about new ways to use wood, particularly underutilized, yet widely-available hardwoods, such as American cherry and soft maple,” concluded Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania.
As a testament to the sustainability of the American hardwood resource, a quick environmental analysis of the project, based upon AHEC’s extensive work on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), revealed that it would take less than six seconds for new growth in the U.S. forest to replace the cherry and soft maple required to manufacture all 45 stools. Of course, it is the sheer scale of forests, which cover the same landmass as England, France and Italy put together that makes this possible, together with the fact that every year growth far exceeds harvest. Furthermore, almost exactly twice as much carbon was stored in the wood used to manufacture the stools as there were carbon emissions associated with sourcing, processing and delivering the wood to Dubai.
American cherry (Prunus serotina)
American cherry is a premium wood with a creamy white sapwood and rich reddish brown heartwood which will darken as it ages. The wood has a fine uniform straight grain and smooth texture and is popular for its subtle grain patterns and warm colours.
American cherry is used for many high end applications including architectural joinery, furniture, cabinets, flooring and musical instruments. The wood is of medium density with good bending properties and medium strength and shock resistance.
American soft maple (Acer rubrum, Acer saccharinum)
American soft maple is very similar in appearance to hard maple, although due to its widespread growth it is more susceptible to regional colour variations. Sapwood is pale and the heartwood varies from light to dark reddish brown. The wood is usually straight grained.
American soft maple is often used as a substitute for hard maple or stained to resemble other species such as cherry. Uses include furniture, panelling and interior joinery. Soft maple is about 25% less hard than hard maple, has medium bending and crushing strength, and is low in stiffness and shock resistance. It has good stream bending properties.