The Many Meanings of Wood


To ask a similar question that Chris Brenny asks about brick, I would like to ask what is the role of wood in the built environment today? We have been building our shelters with wood as long as we have been building shelters, but today we use wood for far more ornamental reasons than structural. Stick frame construction is still common and an economical way to build out of the typical options we choose from, but I’m still not convinced there may be a better and more economical and environmentally cautious way. Also with stick frame construction, we don’t have a lot of interaction with the wood as it is hidden beneath cladding materials.

I find the feelings evoked from the image of wood so fascinating. It has so much history with humans, I wonder if we can ever let it go. It can evoke feelings of warmth, comfort, and even status. Yet we are using it in the most peculiar ways today. For instance, ‘protecting’ a highly durable Apple product made of metal. But people can relate to wood, unlike metals and concrete that can be found cold.

Originally I wanted to start this debate by introducing the work of Elisa Strozyk with her dynamic wood textiles, furniture and lighting pieces, but as Katie already has I’d like to bring up another material with this debate: NewspaperWood by Vij5 and  Mieke Meijer , which also has somewhat of a full-circle lifecycle. Trees are cut down and made into paper, people read the daily or weekly newspaper, the newspaper is then recycled. NewspaperWood takes the leftover newspaper to create a material resembling wood. I appreciate the play of using an object so everyday as newspaper to create a new material which doesn’t even resemble it’s everyday qualities.

To push this thought process even further, the designers have collaborated with Peugeot on the application of NewspaperWood in a concept car interior!


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