Aiming to connect material and people in a playful, conscious and nature-focused way, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has invited leading Spanish designers Inma Bermúdez & Moritz Krefter (Studio Inma Bermúdez), Jorge Penadés (Oficina Penadés) and Alvaro Catalán de Ocón (ACdO) to create three pieces of furniture for public spaces, designed to help people encounter and rediscover nature.
Titled Natural Connections, the exhibition at the Matadero is part of the Madrid Design Festival 2023 programme, creating synergies with Slow Spain: Slow furniture for fast change, AHEC’s other exhibition at the festival.
As well as recruiting them as mentors for the Slow Spain project – a platform for the work of 17 students from design schools across Spain – AHEC invited Inma Bermúdez, Moritz Krefter, Jorge Penadés and Alvaro Catalán de Ocón to develop designs for a parallel exhibition. Inspired by the beauty and warmth of wood, the showcase examines the connections between people in public spaces and designs that encourage the pleasure of encounters in and with the natural world. Each designer was offered a choice of three sustainable American hardwoods to develop their designs with: red oak, maple and cherry.
Inspired by the shape of traditional woodworker’s shaving horse, Inma Bermúdez and Moritz Krefter (Studio Inma Bermúdez) have developed a family of five pieces using a handmade process that they have called ‘La manada perdida’. Distributed around the Matadero lobby, the works encourage you to sit, chat and connect in a more free and playful way, inspired by the informal, non-prescriptive character and features of the furniture.
Jorge Penadés, thanks to the collaboration with AHEC, has been able to investigate new applications for wood, pushing it to the limit of its versatility. Wrap is an innovative, curiosity- sparking piece characterised by modular elements that allow for different configurations as many types of furniture.
Alvaro Catalán de Ocón has created a large cloud, entitled NUBE, using red oak, cherry and maple. His creative process has led him to transform wood into small pieces that, assembled by hand, create an ethereal and light form, that nevertheless packs a high visual punch.