With the Grain

“All the fun things that can be done with plywood are in the past,” designer Kevin Walz says about one of the most important innovations in wood furniture design. In order to bring something new to his recent collection of tables and chairs for Ralph Pucci, Walz borrows a method from canoe building: hiding several layers of rigid carbon fiber between paper-thin walnut veneers. The sculptural results exhibit wood’s aesthetic qualities—with little of its heft (the Pull Up chair weighs a mere two pounds). Because it is finished with an impregnator that stains and strengthens the wood from within, the grain texture is left intact. “It’s ironic,” Walz says. “The design expresses the precision of metal, but we’re allowing wood to feel more like itself than wood has been able to feel in a long time.”

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