15 June 2024, 09:39
By James Latham May 30, 2024

Pretty in plywood

Kobi by Konk is a new piece of furniture that showcases some of the best in contemporary British design. Commissioned by luxury interior retailer Kobi & Teal, based in Frome, Somerset, this sideboard is the result of a collaboration between high-end furnituremaker Konk, leading UK timber, decor and panel distributor James Latham, and pioneering Finnish plywood brand UPM Plywood’s WISA.

Achieving a balance of form and function, Kobi contrasts the attractive, blond tones of UPM Plywood’s signature WISA-Birch Premium ply with the sultry, smoky shades of black American walnut.

“What immediately strikes the viewer is the furniture’s chic birch ply frame, before the eye is caught by its twin doors in black American walnut, scalloped to offer a textured finish and an irresistibly tactile quality,” states James Latham. “Set on four elegantly turned legs (also in black American walnut) with adaptable shelving inside, it’s a stylish statement piece.”

Striking a visual balance


Diving deeper into the journey from vision to reality, Konk’s founder, Alex Ratcliffe, says: “The client was open to ideas, but was keen to use engineered and solid timber.”

To emphasise the material contrast, Alex and his team worked on a two-tone design concept. He knew black American walnut would play a central role in the project. However, the part of the structural material hung in the balance, leading Konk to approach long-time distribution partner James Latham for advice.

James Latham recommended WISA-Birch Premium as the perfect accompanying product, not only to meet the requirements of the brief, but to surpass them.

The strongest supporter


WISA-Birch Premium is one of the best-regarded premium plywoods available, says James Latham, and a go-to material for furnituremakers and joiners worldwide, adding that its neutral, consistent, premium-quality surface makes an ideal base for different treatments such as lacquering, varnishing, and wood staining – perfect for any visually demanding applications and end uses.

Alex affirms: “I was impressed by WISA-Birch Premium from the get-go. Its quality far surpasses its attractive price point, and there are few alternatives that can match it on the market. For me, the long grain surface was a massive selling point and, as you can see on the Kobi sideboard, the consistency of the finish is nothing short of impressive.”

Find out more here.


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