Putting timber on the map

4 January 2018


On the front cover of this issue is the timber-resplendent Hastings Pier, a worthy winner of this year’s RIBA Stirling Prize – UK architecture’s highest award. It really is a fantastic project and is great advert for the use of timber.


I can remember passing the pier during construction works and being fascinated at the colossal volumes of new tropical timber arriving on site, with carpenters of Timber Craft UK hard at work fixing the deck boards.

Speaking to project architect Alex de Rijke, he said timber defined this new “town square” on the sea, due to the absence of new buildings on the site. And local residents approve, with one saying it’s the only pier where you can actually hear the sea!

Of course, if you like penny arcades and fairground attractions it might not be your cup of tea.

Talking also to project manager David Spooner it was clear that everyone involved in the project knew they were working on something special and the new pier has come to symbolise a new lease of life and investment for the town.

As well as using large volumes of solid wood, reclaimed wood from the former pier has been used as cladding on a cross-laminated timber visitor centre, combining old and new, traditional and modern.

It’s also a good demonstration of the sound procurement of legal and sustainable timber – in a month where we saw the first UK prosecution under the EU Timber Regulation.

When you walk over the Azobé deck boards, just remember that Ecochoice Ltd supplied 75,000 linear metres of the FSC-certified product.

Elsewhere in this issue we share updates on panel products, with digital printing being increasingly talked about and allowing some sectors, such as the undertaker trade, to offer new bespoke product options. Whether it is a football shirt or regimental colours decorated coffin, or even woodland themed panelling in a school to give children the appearance of a quiet, calm setting, the trade has new possibilties to serve customers’ every whim.

We also caught up with Garnica Plywood at its factories in northern Spain recently, hearing about a big expansion in their production of poplar plywood and how they are developing the UK market through its partnership with distributor James Latham.

The lightness of weight of its poplar and the white colour is proving attractive with buyers, with Lathams havng already brought in more than £1m of product in the first half of this year.

And we review Timber Expo, the UK’s largest show purely dedicated to timber products. TRADA and the Confederation of Timber Industries had a strong representation, with a host of seminars to educate and inform visitors about the use of wood.