Guide, Inspirational things to do, Kiss House, Timber | 08 April 2022
Our favourite things — wood.
Whether you like to listen, read, watch, visit an event or discover someone new, we’ve got you covered.
Something to watch
The Hidden Life of Trees is a fascinating documentary adaption of German forester, Peter Wohlleben’s bestselling book, The Hidden Life of Trees, which vividly explores the “social life” of trees and the ways they communicate. Written following Wohlleben’s exploration of forests across Germany, Poland, Sweden, and Vancouver.
The Hidden Life of Trees presents ecological, biological, and academic resources to explore how trees can act like colonies; their life, death, and regeneration, and the amazing systems behind them that most of us are unaware of.
It explains how if left well alone by humans, trees would thrive in ways we can barely imagine.
Something to listen to
London based post-punk band Snapped Ankles released their fourth studio album Forest of Your Problems, in July 2021. All their tracks embody their love for the forest — they even made their instruments out of old pieces of wood and have referred to themselves as “forest folk, descended from the trees.”
Like Daft Punk and Banksy, they’ve opted for anonymity and perform in “ghillie suits,” a type of camouflaged clothing that resembles outdoor surroundings such as foliage.
One to watch
Hooke Park, (Dorset, UK) is run by the Architectural Association (AA), and is definitely one to watch. This woodland campus for architects lies just a few miles inland from the Jurassic Coast and is undertaking incredible work to develop rural architecture.
Hooke Park offers brilliant design workshops, construction, and landscape-focused activities, all of which promote an ethic of self-sufficiency. The park combines, forest, studio, workshop and building sites; and their projects, courses, and events are all supported by expert practitioners, from designers to foresters. There are also public evening lectures, concerts, and open days which anyone can attend.
The Van Gogh House in London was fabulously restored in 2012 by the Wang family.
After 7 years the Georgian terrace, in which Vincent van Gogh lived between 1873 and 1874, reopened, hosting artist residencies, guided tours, exhibitions and events.
A lot of the building had fallen derelict, apart the original 19th century staircase which was hidden under MDF boards. The staircase remained intact, all except a missing spindle. Rather than restore the whole staircase to its original condition, the family took it as an opportunity to add something new. Designer Oliver Dorman created his “Cherry Spindle,” a feature that is so subtle in its design you may miss it on a visit to the house.
The spindle is a beautiful, hand-made feature, designed to curve with the turn in the staircase.
The Wang family continue to preserve Van Gogh’s career in the house, as well as using the space to support the next generation of artists, writers, and designers.
See the events planned for the coming year on the Van Gogh House website.
Something to look at
The first wooden wind power tower heralds a breakthrough in wind turbines! Swedish wood construction company Moelven, and engineers Modvion have built the first wooden, wind power, tower in Sweden, and it’s blown our socks off! Sorry!
Made entirely off-site, the 30-metre-tall turbine is said to offer comparable performance to traditional wind turbines at a significantly lower cost than a traditional steel tower.
The use of timber in infrastructure projects could play a significant role in combatting the climate crisis. We can’t wait to see more wooden wind turbines. Find out more by clicking here.
Something to read
If you’re looking for some creative inspiration you need look no further than “Material and the art of transformation” by Nick Kary. This book takes you on an imaginative ride through nature, exploring the ways humans have used it to enhance our lives. Nick speaks to makers and creatives, collecting delightful information from carpenters, weavers, smiths, and masons on how they transform natural resources into functional materials. He also explores the fascinating history of timber farming.
Having been a woodcrafter for 25 years Nick has an affinity with natural materials. He talks passionately about his love for being immersed in nature and his connection to it. “Wood and words, trees and people, material and ethereal — it is here I love increasingly to dwell,” Nick Kary.
You can get the book at one of our previous favourites, Folde bookshop in Dorset, here.
Find out more about Material and the art of transformation by Nick Kary, on his Instagram.
Somewhere to visit
We’d love to escape to this tiny timber self-catering house in Guitinières, France. A private woodland getaway, La Petite Maison is small but perfectly formed. A 36 square metre house nestled deep in fields and woodland which is said to be perfect for two guests looking to enjoy peace, nature and the delights of timber construction.
Finished in 2020 La Petite Maison is made exclusively of locally sourced Douglas fir right down to its furniture.
It is on our bucket list! Find out more here.