Pretty in Plywood

Posted in Products on 26 June, 2024

James Latham and UPM Plywood’s WISA® partner with luxury furniture manufacturer Konk for its new Kobi sideboard.

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, Frome, Somerset, UK, 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®.

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.

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 contrast engineered and solid timber. 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, Alex 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.

The strongest supporter

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.

As 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.”

“None of this would have been possible without James Latham’s support. We’ve been customers for years and their expert consultancy on this project was pivotal in getting it off the ground in the first place. We look forward to continuing our work with them, and WISA®, in 2024 and beyond.”

Kobi is available from Kobi & Teal or can be purchased directly from Konk. Find out more here:

For more information on UPM Plywood’s  WISA®-Birch Premium Ply and James Latham visit:

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