Conversations about Climate Change is a specially commissioned design competition, exhibition, and events series providing a platform for urgent climate debates.


The Timber Trade Federation,  in collaboration with the Building Centre in London, will showcase tropical timbers from responsible sources to demonstrate the importance of this natural resource.



2020: ‘Super Year’ for climate conversations

2020 had been designated a super year for climate conversations with COP26 scheduled to take place in November. Now postponed due to the global COVID 19 pandemic, the battle against climate change remains an urgent threat to humanity.


Conversations about Climate Change is a design competition that sets architects, designers, and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timber.



UK & EU combats illegal logging

Responsibly forested timber is an essential solution to the emission reduction needed for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. Timber is a low carbon material, with forests acting as the ‘lungs of the earth’ extracting CO2, regulating the earth’s temperature, and providing biodiverse ecosystems. However, tropical forests have often been undervalued and cleared for agricultural development, rather than sustainable forest management.


The Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) is the EU’s Action Plan to combat illegal logging, subsequent trade and deforestation. In return for aid, countries with tropical forests are overhauling their legal and regulatory governance frameworks to introduce forest monitoring, auditing, multi-stakeholder dialogue and engagement with local communities. This landmark shift in governance and procurement means FLEGT licensed timber is a safe, legal and responsible form of timber.



The Competition: stimulate climate conversations

Conversations about Climate Change tasked architects, designers and other end-users to consider how their role as a specifier is vital for implementing change, encouraging them to think about material provenance and designing capabilities. Designs will stimulate conversation about material provenance and its place in the climate debate while revealing the aesthetic qualities of the palette of tropical hardwoods species selected.


The ‘conversation pieces’ could be furniture, sculpture, a model or functional design object – as long as it responds to the material provided, a range of tropical hardwood species, and can start a conversation about the climate crisis.


All entries will be shown in an exhibition at the Building Centre in London in November timed to mark the original date of COP26 and highlighting the vital role for tropical forests in the climate debate.


Six winners will be chosen by an expert judging panel to be fabricated for the show. All winners will be provided with sustainably sourced FLEGT tropical hardwood, a maker’s bursary, and matched up with workshops where their designs will be developed and made.


We are delighted to announce that Adam Brinkworth of Brinkworth, Yinka Ilori of Yinka Ilori Studio, Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield, Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton Architects, and Leah Riley Brown of the British Retailer Consortium, will be joining Vanessa Norwood, Creative Director of the Building Centre, and David Hopkins, director of the Timber Trade Federation, to judge the entries.



To enter, find out more, or read the supporting resources, please visit


The competition is open and will close 24th August 2020.


The six winners will be announced at the beginning of September.

Key dates

1st June: Competition opens

24th August: Competition closes

Beginning of September: Winners announced

Early September – December: Design creation / fabrication

January 2021 – March 2021: Exhibition @ The Building Centre, London