10 June 2020

Conversations about climate change: Call for entries

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1 June – 24 August 2020

The Timber Trade Federation (TTF) is looking for innovative, playful and thought-provoking designs from architects, designers, and craftspeople who will rise to the challenge of creating 'conversation pieces' from sustainably sourced tropical timber. And we would love you to join the conversation.


Conversations about climate change is a specially commissioned design competition, exhibition, and events series providing a platform for urgent climate debates. The Building Centre in London, in association with the Timber Trade Federation, will showcase winning designs in tropical timbers from sustainable sources to demonstrate the importance of this natural resource.


The context

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.


Sustainably forest management is an essential solution to the emission reduction needed for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change. However, tropical forests have often been undervalued and cleared for agricultural development, rather than sustainable timber production.


Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) is the EU’s Action Plan to combat illegal logging, subsequent trade and deforestation, and instead 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 which will help keep forests standing.


The TTF wants more countries to engage in these Governance reforms and start producing FLEGT licenced timber. Engaging designers and creating high value markets is one way to do this.


The challenge

Conversations about climate change sets architects, designers, and craftspeople the challenge of creating ‘conversation pieces’ from responsibly sourced tropical timber.


The TTF wants designers to respond to this material and to consider how their role as a specifier is vital for implementing change. The ‘conversation pieces’ could be furniture, sculpture, a model or functional design object – anything, as long as it stimulates a conversation about material provenance and its place in the climate debate, drawing inspiration from the palette of tropical hardwood species selected.


The competition

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 and a £1000 maker’s bursary.


All entrants will have their designs exhibited in an online gallery and a shortlist will be displayed in the 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.


Enter the design competition, find out more, or read the supporting resources


Conversations about climate change is a partnership between the Timber Trade Federation and the Building Centre. It is also supported by the Department for International Development.