Behind Oak REDefined: Fine furniture on an architectural scale

Oak REDefined is a collaboration with Australian architect and furniture designer Adam Markowitz and graphic artist Marcus Piper with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), presented at Denfair 2019. The timber installation ranked among the most memorable at Denfair by mastering form and functionality; a distinctive space to recharge, relax and reconnect while experiencing the physical and emotional properties of American red oak.

Oak REDefined’s multifaceted qualities speak of Adam Markowitz’s holistic design approach. Originally trained as an architect, Adam has since studied fine furniture fabrication and his solo practice straddles the two disciplines. “Architects use timber almost as if it’s a paint colour,” Adam muses on-site at Denfair. “[The project has] layers of detail so [there is] clear, architectural intent on the large scale – but at each level of scale, there was a fine-tuning of details and expressing the capabilities of the material.”

Appreciating these layers is part of the viewer’s interaction with the space. From a distance, dark, tall screens permit only passing glimpses of what lies within.

The closer one gets to the exhibit, the more details reveal themselves – seamless joins, integrated seating and tables further attest to red oak’s savoir faire. Adam explains that this is the result of diligent manufacturing by Sydney-based Evostyle. “It has really been done to a fine level of detail. You can see that fine furniture makers have made this.”

I wanted the user to create this sense of respite and quietness,” Adam adds. Visitors are encouraged to linger in the space, further incentivised by tactically-incorporated charging facilities for devices. 

In the middle of the installation is a tangram-inspired table by Marcus Piper. An interactive puzzle, the centrepiece of the space was conceived to stimulate the mind and senses. “It’s hard to pull yourself away from it!” Adam comments.

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