James Latham in support of creativity • Hotel Designs

At the heart of the competition’s aims were colour and curve, inspired by guest mentor Fred Baier. To provide an extra level of challenge, James Latham suggested the students work with unfamiliar materials, using the resources available at Rycotewood, under strict timings. Once the overarching theme of ‘storage’ was agreed, James Latham approached three of its premium supplier partners to get involved: HIMACS, UPM and Valchromat. All globally popular options for furniture applications, they were delighted to participate.

Following a 10-week entry period, in which 12 Rycotewood Degree students participated, judging took place during the end of year celebratory show and the winning and commended entries were announced.

“Solid Surface was a totally new material for me and I was immediately impressed at how it can be worked in a similar way as bent, laminated wood, but hold a far better shape, with more consistent surface definition,” said Yuchen Liu, joint Winner, when commenting on working with HIMACS. “I knew it had to become the centrepiece of my project.”

Liu’s cool and contemporary bar cabinet design is a true celebration of HIMACS, using its bright orange tone complemented with stained European oak to create a visually arresting piece of furniture. What made his piece stand out for the judges was the originality in its use of HIMACS, and the way in which he had formed the surface to create a seamless s-shaped curve. This feature ran across the top of the cabinet before cascading down its side and tapering off to create a multi-level effect.

Luke Rawlinson was the competition’s other winner, using UPM’s Grada2000 Birch Plywood to breath-taking effect in an elegant, biophilic-themed storage cabinet. Taking advantage of the material’s thermoformability, he adopted an innovative approach to the design by accentuating Grada2000’s signature ability to curve and stay curved. Light and modern, the sustainable credentials of the material were further enhanced with, curved shelving and ribbing on each side of the central storage unit, creating a pleasant visual contrast. Furthermore, the ribbed side act as a trellis from which creeping plant life can prosper, enhancing the natural theme Rawlinson intended.

creative use of Valchromat in blue storage unit created with material from James Latham

Image credit: James Latham / Rycotewood College

Catherine Warsi was also singled-out for her clever and creative use of Valchromat, discovering the versatility of this popular engineered panel when aiming to create an ambitious spherical storage unit. Seeking a through-colour surface, but realising the tools available on-site would limit her opportunity to work with HIMACS, Valchromat’s blue-hued board provided the perfect solution to this challenge.
“The structural composition of Valchromat makes it easy to shape, meaning I was able to achieve the stepped spherical shape I wanted using the equipment available at Rycotewood,2 said Warsi. “Furthermore, the product came in an amazing range of colours, which fired my imagination.

The competition tested the mettle and imagination of the students who delivered incredible results under considerable time pressure and James Latham’s provision of a variety of different materials encouraged them to think outside the box and discover the advantages and potential of a completely new range of products.

James Latham is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: James Latham / Rycotewood College

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