My latest obsession is plywood design. This material is commonly hidden away behind a ghastly melamine veneer (you know the horrible fake granite counter tops or faux wooden cupboards). It is even a throwaway material during construction. It is used as formwork (molds) for pouring concrete into all the fantastic shapes and sizes you see in some of todays amazing architecture.
Archi-Union Architects, Fu Space in Shanghai
Plywood is crucial to construction for its amazing qualities:
- It’s strength
- It’s varied sizes
- It’s flexibility
- It’s durability
- It’s low cost, especially compared to solid timber.
The reason I like it so much though, is it’s simplicity and it’s looks!
I’m not the only one! There are a number of pioneering designers who use it, not just for it’s looks, but because of all the benefits the material offers.
Here are just some of the ways plywood can be used to change a space into something unique.
Cabinetry Plywood Design
The strength and versatility of plywood makes it great for shelving and Kitchen cabinetry. It works particularly well in the Minimalist style, the champion of simplicity. The clean lines and sharp edges work perfectly with the aesthetic.
The charcoal grey coating compliments and subtly displays the timber. The simple no fuss nature of plywood is perfectly showcased here and illustrates that perhaps “less” really “is more.”
Plywood in contrast to the harsh Industrial concrete illustrates the warmth the material brings. The simplicity of the example again mirrors the materials ease of use. Superfluous handles are replaced by cut holes. The timber is left exposed to let the grain show and add natural colour to the space.
Detailing Plywood Design
When suggesting a material, such as ply, it is often difficult for people to grasp the aesthetic and there may even be a stigma attached to it.
That is half the reason I am writing this post, to discredit those notions.
Just because plywood is not a solid wood does not mean it should not be treated with the same care. Craftsmanship is everything, especially with timber.
When applied with care, the detailing of plywood looks amazing. The edges create interesting lines and the surfaces have unique grains that add a character and an aesthetic not found with other materials, hard woods included.
Furniture Plywood Design
Ply is a fantastic material for furniture, the strength and size are perfect for manufacture and the look and aesthetic are perfect for design.
Source: De Steyl
Whether painted or left exposed plywood adds character to any piece. Again the simplicity of the material lends itself perfectly to the Minimalist look, all while adding warmth, something the style often lacks.
As you can see plywood is a unique material that lends itself to many designs and uses. Not only is it versatile, strong and cost effective it is kind to the environment too. So you are not only getting a product that looks great in any setting, is durable and won’t break the bank. You are saving the planet while making your place look amazing. Win, win and win.
I am all for any designers / companies who make great looking products all while saving the planet. Foo Dog Design sells designer plywood furniture and with a green policy that will make you want to get off the grid and into sustainable farming before you can say solar!
I admire their products and ethos, so much so I purchased two of their Blender Stools for use as minimal side tables in our bedroom at home.
I am therefore delighted to be affiliated with Foo Dog Designs. If you click here you can purchase their products for yourself. (At the checkout please use the discount code Gentleman)
Full disclosure: This is an affiliate link and if you do make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This comes at no additional cost to you.