17 structures and nine product designs have been nominated for the Wood Awards 2020 shortlist. The independent judging panel visits all the shortlisted projects in person, making this a uniquely rigorous competition. An online exhibition of the shortlist was launched on 14 September during the London Design Festival. Established in 1971, the Wood Awards is the UK’s premier competition for excellence in architecture and product design in wood. The competition is free to enter and aims to encourage and promote outstanding timber design, craftsmanship and installation. The Awards are split into two main categories: Buildings and Furniture & Product.

Among the 'Buildings' entries is The Handlebar Cafe, a new community café and bike workshop created by a group of local teenagers supported by Hampshire charity SPUD. The building sits on a viaduct cycle and walking path and two train carriage-like elements are linked by a glass divide. A third small building houses a cycle workshop and a profiled Accoya cladding board roots the project within its isolated setting. Bespoke, laser-cut shutter panels, depicting cogs and wheels, link the site to the existing railway line and new cycle route.


Also shortlisted is Bumpers Oast, which is closely based on the traditional local oast houses used to dry hops as part of the beer-brewing process. Five shingle-clad towers create an extremely low-energy contemporary home. The proportions of the tower roundels were based on traditional oast geometries but stand slightly apart from one another, creating views inwards and outwards. Each oast contains private rooms, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. 

In the 'Furniture' category, is 'Duo', a pair of deceptively delicate sofas designed for Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Opera House. The seat and back are made from a solid timber frame and sit on a nook cut into the end frames secured by a metal dowel. The seats are upholstered in tan leather. 'The Beehave' also makes an appearance, as Sir Ian Blatchford commissioned Marlène Huissoud to create a beehive to feature in a new permanent gallery at the Science Museum focused on the future of agriculture. The piece was hand-carved and the red oak was then blackened using a scorching technique.


Also, in the 'Production Furniture' category is 'Barking Up The Wrong Log', which questions identity and disguises. Maker Charlotte Kingswood has a deep interest in deconstructed archetypes, as well as Jean Baudrillard’s concept of hyperreal and the inability to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality. 'Tenon Table' is also shortlisted and sees Designer Daniel Schofield taking a pragmatic approach to the design of this particular piece. Material is removed where it is not needed, leaving the base weighted and stable, which naturally creates the joint for the top. A combination of woodturning, CNC machinery and hand jointing were used to create each piece.

For further information on the Awards and entries, click here.