Jacques Cronje, founder and designer at minima

Jacques Cronje, a specialist timber architectural designer, launched minima, a bespoke range of Scandi-inspired timber lighting and furniture, in 2014.

Just as a good pair of jeans never goes out of fashion, wood retains a timeless beauty that remains relevant year in and year out. It’s also the only material that withholds its authentic elegance while being extremely flexible and adaptable.

Adding significant value to your home – as a building material, furniture and feature – it’s no wonder that architects, carpenters and designers love to work with wood.  So says Jacques Cronje, founder and designer at minima bespoke timber lighting and furniture.

“Wood has an extraordinary ability to transform any style of home restoring relaxation and balance while complementing most other materials like concrete, stone, metal, fabric and glass. Whether you use wood in your flooring or roof, in furniture or lighting, it’s a feature that affords a distinctive style and sophistication,” he says.

Here, Jacques rounds-up why wood remains a firm favourite on design aficionados’ must-have lists and is a key trend for 2017:

  1. Sustainability – Wood is a renewable material. In a sustainable managed forest, for each tree harvested, another is planted as it replenishes itself. Using wood reduces carbon dioxide emissions, as the carbon dioxide stored in the timber typically outweighs any that is created during the production of the product. Ideal for the conscientious consumer, it’s both environmentally-friendly, good to the touch and easy on the eye.
  2. Digital detox: Our always-on lives are busy enough meaning that your home should provide a place of calm, balance and tranquillity to restore and re-energise. A natural material, the texture, colour and feeling of wood is a powerful antithesis to the artificial and always-on digital world we surround ourselves with daily. Adding even a pop of ply into your interiors can add a welcome surge of serene. It’s no surprise then that spas and wellness cafes use this material en masse.
  3. Malleable: Because it can be cut into an endless variety of different shapes and styles, working with wood allows the designer to create an endless range of options to suit different rooms within your home. Pieces can be customised to suit a specific space, be it a high-ceiling foyer or an outdoor lounge area. This versus plastic products that use one mould to reproduce the same “piece” thousands of times, limiting its versatility and originality.
  4. Tactile: Nothing feels quite like wood than a raw piece of timber. Its authentic touch is what makes it so exclusive and attractive within your home. Think wooden occasional chairs, a mood-inducing ceiling light or coffee table that oozes character. It also creates a beautiful feature and focal point in a room and often can work as the only piece in an otherwise minimalist space.
  5. Longevity: You just have to look at timber buildings that are hundreds of years old to realise just how durable wood is. Essentially your wooden furniture and floors should outlive you and your grandchildren – that is if it’s made of solid wood and is well taken care of and treated when created. Manmade products on the other hand deteriorate, need regular maintenance or need to be replaced altogether. Investing in a piece of wooden furniture will last for years and could even become a family heirloom to pass through from one generation to the next.
  6. Versatile: Wood can be tailored to suit different specs and décor applications. It’s the type of product that works for just about any style of home from ultra-sophisticated and modern to country cottages.
  7. For the love of wood: People who work with wood really love and respect the material. Each piece of raw wood is viewed as a blank canvas ready for a designer to apply their own personality and creativity to shape it into a finished, and long-lasting, product. In some cultures, woodwork is a trade passed down from father to son and pieces are made with goodwill and passion unlike products mass produced in Chinese factories.
  8. Variety: From bamboo to ply birch, hardwoods and veneers, there are so many varieties of wood one can choose from. Bamboo is a particularly interesting material as, while it is actually a reed that resembles wood, it is fast growing and therefore has excellent renewable and sustainable properties.

Jacques concludes by saying, “Whether investing in an heirloom piece for your home or to add a timeless twist to your lounge or bedroom, wood is good and can be customised into small pieces or large statement show-stoppers.”

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