Case Study: Kobi by Konk in collaboration with James Latham

Getting pretty in plywood, James Latham and UPM Plywood’s WISA, have partnered with luxury furniture manufacturer Konk for its new Kobi sideboard…

wood and plywood sideboard with open door and books on the floor

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

close up of detail of wooden and plywood panel in kobi sideboard construction

Image credit: James Latham

Achieving the perfect 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. Konk has brought out the best in these materials, demonstrating how solid and engineered timber complement each other, working in harmony. 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. Set on four elegantly turned legs, also in Black American Walnut, with adaptable shelving inside, it’s a stylish statement piece that will enhance any residential interior setting.

“The client was open to ideas, but was keen to contrast engineered and solid timber,” explained Alex Ratcliffe, Konk Founder, diving deeper into the journey from vision to reality. “They wanted to create a sideboard that celebrated the materials used, with some features interchangeable and others permanent, yet maintaining strength, style, and consistency throughout the piece.”

To emphasise the material contrast, Ratcliffe and his team worked on a two-tone design concept. He knew Black American Walnut would play a central role in the project – it’s a timber Konk already uses extensively, due to its alluring visual appeal and variety of tones, with colours that naturally vary from a light grey-brown, through chocolate brown, to purplish brown. Not only that, when worked it achieves an exquisite decorative appearance due to its outstanding grain, which varies from very plain to highly figured. This adds an element of originality and individuality to each piece of furniture in which it is used.

However, the part of the structural material hung in the balance, leading Konk to approach long-time distribution partner James Latham for advice. Having already supplied the former, it recommended WISA-Birch Premium as the perfect accompanying product, not only to meet the requirements of the brief but to surpass them too.

WISA-Birch Premium is one of the best-regarded premium plywoods available and a go-to material for furniture makers and joiners worldwide. Highly sustainable, its impressive strength and workability are a result of its manufacturing process, with sheets made from birch veneers glued together in a cross-banded construction. 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.

James Latham is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: James Latham