Designer furniture celebrating under-used timber takes centre stage in Milan.

Much as it pains me to admit this, sometimes Americans do things better than we do.

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has brought together 22 recent projects made from American timbers for a remarkable showcase at this year’s Triennale Milano.

Curated and designed by Studio Swine, Forest Tales is an edited selection of designer-made furniture from four AHEC projects run over the past two years and each piece is made from one (or more) of three underused American hardwood varieties: maple, cherry and red oak.

The pieces are displayed around a ‘mountain’ of packing crates, inspired by the opening of Citizen Kane, with stencilled images on the crates coming together to form larger pictures from certain angles.

Making sure that the exhibition lived up to its themes of sustainability and no waste, the crates are the same ones that were used to transport the furniture from the US to Italy and will be re-purposed to pack up the exhibition at its conclusion, minimising waste and the environmental impact of the display.

With Forest Tales, AHEC aims to provide a global platform to designers, pieces and projects that have not yet been widely seen due to the pandemic, but also to demonstrate the extraordinary potential of a selection of underused American hardwoods as sustainable design materials. This is especially important at a time when stocks of more widely used European hardwoods have been depleted by overuse, and supply lines heavily disrupted by the current geopolitical situation. View each piece and learn more at

Image credit: Photo by Petr Krejci