Timber to Tokyo – The Finalists

Big River’s Timber to Tokyo competition attracted a host of impressive entries, finding imaginative new applications for Big River products.

The brief was to design a piece that would harness the beauty and versatility of Big River ArmourPanel or ArmourFloor, with a particular focus on form and function – and a trip to Tokyo Design Week for the winning design.

The emphasis was also on the idea of renewal – telling stories of renewal and promoting sustainable practices.

Interpretations were many varied, and 4 finalists’ pieces were manufactured and displayed at Coco Republic Design Centre during Saturday in Design Sydney. The judging panel consisted of Nic Owen of Nic Owen Architects, Ross Longmuir of Planet Furniture, Ola Bednarczuk of Indesignlive and Dean Henderson, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Big River Group.

The Fractal Series by Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis of Design By Them is a modular setting, using pattern and repetition to create flexible tables or stools.


Hidden magnets easily pull the pieces into position, and the design permutations are endless.

“The inspiration for the design was to create a modular setting that could renew itself to suit its ever changing environment and the needs of its users,” said the designers.


“To achieve this, the design utilised the simplicity of individual components or cells that unite, separate and align to adapt and evolve with its users and spaces.”

Anara Mailybayeva took small panels of ArmourPanel and created her Miru wall unit, an origami-inspired wall unit that combines a cupboard with a flip door and a set of hidden hooks.

“The idea of Miru was born from a desire to reinvent a humble everyday object and create a functional piece that would combine several purposes,” said Mailybayeva.

“The shape of Miru was an outcome of a series of experiments with geometric patterns. The final form was derived from a hexagon… The minimalistic and simple shape has a modern feel, yet it may find its reflections in many cultures.”

Kathryn Hynard’s Lunar lights are, as the name suggests, inspired by the moon.

Made from ArmourPanel, the luminaries tell the story of the renewal of the moon as it goes through its phases.

“The layers literally represent the transitions of the moon’s lunar cycle as it renews,” explained the designer.

“As one moves around the pendants the form of the pendant is always changing, always fading and renewing.”

Each layer uses a different ArmourPanel timber species – blackbutt, flooded gum, spotted gum, Sydney blue gum and walnut – demonstrating the beauty of the range.

The winning entry was Alex Fitzpatrick’s Timber Wall Garden, inspired by “natural form and its poetic beauty” and the way rays of light burst through tree branches to create silhouettes and patterns.

“I enjoy the idea of nature creeping into our busy lives, seemingly unacknowledged,” said Fitzpatrick of his design.

The Timber Wall Garden’s simple form creates organic and abstract patterns through light.

Congratulations to all the finalists for designing pieces that tell a unique story, highlight the beauty of the Big River product and create gorgeous additions to our surroundings.