Interior architecture firm Avalon Collective celebrates the character of natural wood across indoor and outdoor spaces.

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Interior architecture firm Avalon Collective celebrates the character of natural wood across indoor and outdoor spaces.

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We’re accustomed to encountering wood as floors and furnishings, but Cedric Jaccard of Avalon Collective, a hospitality interior architecture firm, has a novel suggestion: Why not install this versatile material on the ceiling?

The firm did just that for the interiors of the Four Seasons Private Island in the Maldives, a project it recently completed.

“Wood is often used as a flooring material to expand visual connections between indoor and outdoor spaces,” Jaccard explains. However, for the Four Seasons Private Island, he installed wooden floor planks on the ceilings of the resort’s beach villas, further deepening the visual connection between the interior and outer spaces, while inviting guests to appreciate wood from an unusual perspective.

The appeal of natural wood, says the 47-year-old Swiss creative director, is its unique characteristics that cannot be replicated by commercial wood laminates.

This include wood’s natural textures, the subtle differences between different batches of wood, and the material’s ability to change colour and weather with age.

“Wood is a living material. When you work with it, you need to understand its nature. For example, with timber flooring, one of the best ways to experience it is to walk barefoot and feel the material underfoot. Sometimes, the floor may crack or make a noise. It’s all part of the charm,” he explains.

When it comes to selecting wood from suppliers, Jaccard highlights a surprising detail to look out for: the size of the wooden planks.

Planks of a wider width are an indication that the tree of origin has been allowed to mature over a longer period of time. “Shorter wooden planks are unable to reflect a deeper sense of history,” he shares.

When furnishing smaller rooms, planks measuring 12cm to 15cm are ideal. For larger spaces such as living rooms and public areas, lengths of 18cm to 24cm work better aesthetically.

One material Jaccard enjoys working with is white oak, a wood that is typically available in larger planks. He sources his white oak from wood flooring specialist World of Wood, which provides him with a range of well-engineered, solid wood options. He adds: “I like to have a bit of aged texture on the white oak that I use, so that it’s not completely smooth and has a more natural feel. World of Wood is able to offer a wide variety of wood types ranging from tropical to continental wood, and customise them with various finishes.”