Announcing the winners – Conversationalists


We proudly announce the winners of Conversations about Climate Change, our timber design exhibition in collaboration with the Building Centre.


Following an incredibly tough judging session on the 2nd September, we are extremely proud to announce the winners of Conversations about Climate Change.

The competition set the challenge for designers, architects and makers to design an object that will spark conversation about climate change to form part of our exhibition, in replacement of COP26 talks, which have been postponed due to Covid-19.

We received an abundance of amazing entries from across the globe, validating the importance of projects to stimulate internal dialogue around climate issues, specifying with timber and tropical hardwood species more notably and presenting a cohort of incredible ideas and designs.

Unfortunately we do not have the opportunity to exhibit more of these incredible designs at the Building Centre. However, all designs will be available via an online portal and presented electronically at the exhibition.

Our five judges: Adam Brinkworth, Yinka Ilori,  Julia Barfield, Andrew Waugh, and Leah Riley Brown, joined David Hopkins and Vanessa Norwood. The panel deliberated to select designs which they felt would most strongly stimulate conversation around climate change, present the aesthetic beauty of selected tropical hardwood species, and convey the success of the FLEGT Action Plan.

The entries were anonymised and chosen based on their response to the brief (a climate change conversation piece celebrating the properties of tropical wood), the quality of their design, and their collective impact as an exhibition. Only six were selected to be developed and exhibited in the Conversations About Climate Change exhibition. 

* The Conversations about Climate Change Exhibition opens virtually on the 12th February 2021.



Tom Wilson’s Forest Dwellers are inspired to draw parallels between forest clearing, habitats, and trade. He has selected to portray gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and gibbons, all recorded on the IUCN Red List as endangered or critically endangered, with habitat loss being their greatest single threat.

Questioning how the use of tropical timber can be anything but contributory to the clearing of the world’s forests, currently at a rate of 10x faster than the most optimistic regrowth could allow (WWF).

The forest dwellers pose this very question. Each ape will be contrived out of timber from its natural forest habitat. The future survival of these creatures, and countless others, is inextricably linked to the survival of their forests, Wilson embeds further.

Can we regrow our forests to limit the impact of climate change and help to reverse biodiversity loss?

Is it possible to sustainably harvest timber and natural products, contributing to ethical and sustainable economies, as well as safeguarding habitats, biodiversity, and the health of the Earth?

Tom’s design and presentation will ask these questions and more, presenting the opportunity for viewers to think more deeply about their role on forests across the globe.

Forest Dwellers @ Curio Studio


A contemplative space constructed, creating a spectacle for the senses, the pavilion focuses primarily on emotional responses that can be evolved through the light & shadow, scent of the forest, touch of the timber and melodies of the soundscape within.

The pavilion will include ‘sounds of the forest’ presenting one of the common uses of Sapele – musical instruments. Jeremy Yu presents the partnership with Crewdson, a musician and instrument builder, together creating a soundscape based on the life cycle of the Sapele tree. Though this, conversation will be evoked around sustainable processes within forestry, production and re use and how this plays a hand in our fight against climate change.

Continuing our ‘In conversation with…’, the pavilion will present a great staging ground for our future guests tbc.

Sapele Sound Pavilion drawings @ Studio Yu

Kashdan Brown Architects Ltd : EXTRACTION

Extract too much, and the system will collapse!

Adding an interactive element to their design, Kashdan have proposed an act of interactivity through which the public will gain knowledge of a range of woods, their properties, and would engage with the idea of ‘giving back’ as a way to provide greater stability.

The design, with 195 horizontal holes drilled through its heart, will represent the demands on the natural resources of timber by the 195 countries of the world. Further underpinning the design ideology, it highlights the need for reforestation / afforestation and a drastically reduction in deforestation, if we want to avoid ‘collapse’.

“It’s precariousness should should strike alarm into any viewer”

EXTRACTION proposal @ Kashdan Brown Architects Ltd

Outline – Projects : HIGH TIDE

A sculptural piece to highlight the impact of global warming.

In less than 100 years, high tide will severely affect nearly 600 million people worldwide. The majority of the world’s greatest cities are by a coast, river or other major body of water. Therefore, this creation presents an opportunity to remind people about this uncomfortable consequence and promote conversation about our impact on climate change.

The design will show current high tide compared to predicted high tide in 2120 to help viewers realise the wider implication on the city and on their lives. People often struggle to contextualise climate change or other environmental issues, until they feel the affect on their own lives and have to adapt their behaviours and livelihoods.

High Tide @ Outline Projects

Joe Pipal Furniture : CARBON PRINT

Exhibiting the connection between trees and carbon storage, and the potential for future climate mitigation.

As Joe expresses:

“Trees are unique in their ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. As designers, architects and makers, we have a role to play with the well considered use of timber products and to promote sustainable wood use. At times the scale of the challenge to protect forests on the other side of the world and to reverse global economic models built on mass extraction of materials can be overwhelming. But I have been pleasantly uplifted as a maker, by the simple realisation that wood use can help with the climate crisis.”

Carbon Print @ Joe Pipal Furniture 


Most people are familiar with engaging wood as a material, losing sight of its origin as a tree. With this project, we wondered how we could breathe life and give a “voice” to wood – its lifeless form – by conveying meaningful data about individual trees through sound.

Tree Whisperer is a series of wind-up instrumental objects that work as music boxes. Each object produces unique pulsing beats that reflect how different tree species would respond to the changing global climate. The tempo and duration of beats reflect the extent of climate change on each tree – quickening pace of (faster) beats reflect a tree that is becoming more distressed, eventually leading to a shortened pulse duration. By introducing a visual and auditory reference to time as well as heartbeats, these objects call us to vividly confront the urgency of climate change in the context of tree deaths.

For this exhibition, 2 specific tropical hardwoods have been chosen as the focus: Meranti and Keruing. These are linked to two ecologically and economically important yet threatened Dipterocarp trees in Southeast Asia. Together, the wooden trees create an image of the Southeast Asian forest.

Data for the current project was extracted and interpreted based on projected changes in suitable climate space for both tree types (Deb et al., 2017), but can be extended to every biotope if the data is made available.

Adding an audio-visual element to their design, we hope that visitors will engage with the conversation of tree extinction and perhaps for the first time consider the urgency of climate change for tree death. Trees are largely considered resilient, to droughts, flooding and most weather events, but the majority of affects will be happening below the surface and soil level. With the affects, visually only presented significantly too late.

Tree Whisperer @ Sheryl Ang