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Contemporary design has a habit of resurrecting the past and rebranding as “vintage”, “retro” or – more recently – “reclaimed”. For fashion, this means digging out old scrunchies and dungarees or stealing moth-eaten coats from your grandmother’s attic. For the interiors of modern commercial and residential design, this means raw, natural materials hearkening back to methods that came long before designer knock-offs or flares. This is old-school, medieval and renaissance craftmanship, and the noughties are finally seeing it done well.
The 70s brutally murdered interior woodwork with flimsy, darkly varnished living room paneling that served as nothing more than everyone’s least favorite part of the spring cleaning list. Thankfully, the 70s are far behind us, even if high-waisted yellow flares and handle-bar moustaches are making a comeback. Nowadays we have warm, rich mahoganies, bright and breezy birches, sturdy oaks, elegant elms and wandering willows weaving their way into modern design. Smooth textures and warm tones of wood become the perfect environment to sip on a Dark n' Stormy, Pumpkin Mojitos or an Irish Cream Float.
Malleable, versatile and durable, bars, lounges and homes alike are incorporating woodwork into far more than an enviable hardwood floor. Sturdy, gnarly walnut bar-tops, hand-carved maple décor, knotty pine panels and sweet red cherry table-tops are now at the top of the must-have list. Whether minimalist, clean, smooth and oozing European chic, or rich, thick, rustic and American, there are endless possibilities for how wood can transform a space. Whether you're throwing down a pint during the frosty winters in Chicago or sipping on wine in the vineyards of Portugal, a warm wood drinking spot will always steer you to comfort. Here are some examples of experimentation, innovation and visionary work to demonstrate the endless capacities of our planet’s big green giants.
Studio Hermes Club by Corvin Cristian uses wooden slats for an awe-inspiring elongating effect drawing the volume of the cabaret and live bands upwards and circulating it throughout the space. The ceiling of El Fabuloso by Mema is a flood of boxes, drawers and crates that also flank the exterior, showing the possibilities of reuse and the re-imagination of ordinary objects. The Gamsei Artisian Cocktail Bar by Buero Wagner demonstrates the effects of fine detail and lattice work, which open wood paneling into breathable and light finishes. You can even turn an entire tree trunk into a full-length dining table. The possibilities are endless.