IIDEX Woodshop Winners Spotlight | Fieldhouse, Ford + Reed

The IIDEX Woodshop Exhibtion is just about a month away, and now that we’ve covered the featured designers that were solicited for the initiative, we’re going to turn the spotlight on the 5 competition winners who will be joining their ranks at IIDEX. This week: Fieldhouse, Ford + Reed for their SLASH+BURN lamps.

Fieldhouse, Ford + Reed

Fieldhouse, Ford + Reed is an emerging collaborative design team formed by three former Furniture Craft & Design students from Sheridan College: C.R. Fieldhouse, Simon Ford and Lauren Reed.  The three have come together to imagine new and innovative designs that reflect their belief in the simplicity of functional objects that marry concept, experimentation and materiality.

We caught up with Fieldhouse, Ford + Reed recently, and here’s what they had to say about about their competition submission, ash trees and the IIDEX Woodshop initiative:

ideacious: As a city and IIDEX supported initiative to use a portion of the 200,000+ ash trees being destroyed over the next 5 years, IIDEX Woodshop has a strong narrative going for it. How did this inspire you when designing your piece?

Fieldhouse, Ford + Reed: We really latched on to the idea of a natural life cycle and destruction. These trees are being killed by an invasive pest, and many likely to become wood chips and firewood. We wanted to appropriate that concept of destruction and use it to define our concept. Shou-sugi-ban is a traditional Japanese method of burning the exterior of house siding to create a weather and pest proof exterior. Even though the trees are dead, their wood is still susceptible to rot, pests and weather. So through this somewhat destructive process we are actually protecting the wood from these threats. We took this idea of a natural armour, and applied it to hand-turned pendant lights; too late for the trees, but it provides us an interesting texture and finish.

Slash+Burn

Many designers opt to work with aesthetically rich woods like Walnut or Maple. What are your thoughts on using Ash as your primary material? Is it a challenge, does it change your process, or do you disagree and think Ash is amazing?

Much of our previous work has been in walnut and maple, but we’ve also worked with ash in the past.  It has a lightness of colour similar to maple, but also a strong graphic grain pattern.  It is predominantly used in tool handles and baseball bats, and is fairly inexpensive.  This brings a somewhat utilitarian aesthetic to the wood, which we think is an interesting characteristic to play with.  Ash may not be the most desirable wood out there, but we think this is changing.  It is an incredible local resource, so for us, if this project can help change perceptions of what ash can be, then all the better.FFR_project2_01What qualities in other designers’ work often catch your attention or make you really think the designer is on to something?

We’re attracted to fresh ways of solving common problems. A lot of popular design objects right now are more about aesthetics than function. For us, pieces with strong, even experimental, concepts backed up by clear and simple functionality are really attractive.

FFR_project5_01

And finally, what’s something that you’re really into right now?

The three of us have each become really interested in wood turning over the past few years. The process of working on the lathe is much more intuitive than other woodshop techniques – most are fairly calculated and planned. On the lathe you get instant feedback and can be much more spontaneous and experimental with your designs. Round is the new square?

Stay tuned for next week as we have the scoop on Sathvik Sivaprakash and the Halcyon window blinds.