Canada’s largest architectural and design exposition, IIDEXCanada, brings together the best players in the many related disciplines. Exhibitors do their best to showcase innovation, environmental consciousness, technological advancements, and new products to approximately 25,000 material purchasers who attend the conference. IIDEXCanada 2014 featured over 1600 unique exhibits, providing the largest forum yet seen in Canada for the discussion of material sourcing, professional networking, and examination of best practices.
Sustainable materials were certainly a common theme between many exhibitors this year. Both the architecture and interior design communities understand that there has been a social awakening with regards to the lifecycle of building materials. The internet’s democratization of information has greatly benefitted consumers’ knowledge of supply chains and the realities of unsupervised harvesting. Taylor Willson, the founder of Green World Lumber, has been raising awareness of destructive sourcing practices which permeate the hardwood lumber industry.
At IIDEXCanada, the booth of Green World Lumber was asking attendees to “rethink mahogany.” Mahogany has long been used in demanding applications such as boats, furniture, and instruments. Its wood-working characteristics combined with its structural rigidity make genuine mahogany the absolutely most desirable hardwood for many applications. Above all, genuine mahogany possesses a strength to weight ratio that is phenomenal, which thus makes it desirable for a multitude of applications. Its rarity due to overharvesting in previous centuries also added to its allure to wealthy patrons, leading to the near extinction of mahogany. But with new sources of genuine mahogany being harvested at a supervised rate of sustainability, this beautiful and unique lumber resource is once again widely available for various applications.
Most hardwood decking products are sourced unsustainably from South America, something which Taylor Willson has born witness to earlier in his career. This, coupled with the outright lies of most distributors is what motivated him to start Green World Lumber, which presents the alternative to rare South American hardwoods. Their booth at IIDEXCanada (#223) was designed to inspire visitors to deeply consider the implications of their sourcing for outdoor applications. Feedback on the booth was very encouraging, with several visitors saying that mahogany’s resurgence continues to inspire sustainable developers in several disciplines. Green World Lumber’s ‘Rethink Mahogany’ booth was recognized by IIDEXCanada as the most innovative booth within 100 square feet. This supports the notion that society in general is recognizing sustainability as a holistic form of beauty, but it is still necessary for designers and architects to take this material and shape it into something that can truly be object of wonder.
2015 will be a very interesting year for the architecture, design, and all intersecting industries as they respond to the increased awareness on the part of consumers with regards to the materials being used in their projects. Consumers may begin cherry-picking sustainable materials for their projects and recognizing this trend, architects and designers may want to preemptively present sustainable options that still have incredible strength and beauty such as genuine mahogany decking. Either way, Green World Lumber will be there, continuing to supply the best hardwood decking on the market.