AHEC teams up with Carl Turner and Adam Kershaw to design a hub for the Ace Hotel’s Lovage Juice Bar at this year’s iSalone show
For this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, the international and influential style magazine Wallpaper* returned to Leclettico Gallery with the fifth edition of their Handmade exhibition, showcasing specially commissioned works and one-off collaborations between the world’s best designers and craftsmen.
As a long-term supporter of Wallpaper’s exhibition with a growing archive of Handmade projects with Sou Fujimoto, aberrant architects and Adam Khan, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) teamed with award winning British architect, Carl Turner, and sculptor and maker, Adam Kershaw to design a hub for Ace Hotel’s Lovage juice bar to serve a range of fruity cocktails at the Milan exhibition.
The starting point for this year’s project, which ran from Tuesday 8 to Saturday 12 April, was the decision to recycle material from AHEC’s collaboration for Wallpaper’s Workspace exhibition in 2013.
The tulipwood was repurposed to build the Tulip Bar for the Salone del Mobile. To minimise waste, Carl Turner divided each board into equal timber slats, presenting them in different guises – patterned transparent edges and solid surfaces – thereby creating a lightweight set of hollow units or ‘bridges’ that were arranged to form a continuous structure that weaves into the exhibition space.
Benches and a high table at either end of the bar provided a social hub and supported the bar unit, which bridges between the two benches seeming to defy gravity. Further, the multi-purpose surface broke the traditional barrier between the bartender and the customer, and the two benches stretched out towards the rest of the exhibition like open arms welcoming the guests in.
In situ at Leclettico, the Tulip Bar was brought to life with the bar equipment, brightly coloured food, juices and the crowds of people eagerly awaiting their drink. In the true essence of Handmade, Carl Turner worked closely with fabricator Adam Kershaw to finalise the design.
Adam’s role as the fabricator was to find a simple structural solution to working with only one timber dimension. Reworking the components of the ‘Octopus’ made in 2013 was rewarding for Kershaw, as the transformation was ultimately so economical. According to Kershaw: “I spend a lot of time using reclaimed materials, so it’s an interesting twist to recycle one’s own work.”
“Tulipwood is very strong for its relatively light weight and thus was the perfect material for this project. The Tulip Bar combines the natural and heat-treated American tulipwood; the random mix of the two colours of tulipwood tricks the eye and emphasises the transparency and lightness of the structure in a sculptural way. The slats of dark thermally modified tulipwood become a solid surface for the counter top and the space below is used for storage space.
“The dark thermally modified tulipwood is the perfect material for the bar top; the thermal modification process permanently alters the wood’s chemical and physical properties and limits the wood’s ability to absorb moisture, so products are more dimensionally stable and less prone to cup, warp and twist with changes in humidity.
For a bar area that is prone to spillages, the timber is perfectly stable, and being a darker colour, it will not stain,” said Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania.