Meet the Team: Sales Advisor Rae McCarthy-Yardley's favourite plywood interiors
In our ‘Meet the Team’ series, we’re getting to know The Modern House staff. Here, we’re talking to Sales Advisor Rae McCarthy-Yardley about plywood interiors, to investigate the versatility and aesthetic qualities of the material.
Rae studied Fashion & Dress History at the University of Brighton and before completing a master’s degree in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art. Before joining The Modern House, Rae worked at the V&A, where a recent exhibition on plywood left her feeling inspired.
The Workshop, London NW1
“The use of plywood here fits so naturally into the industrial feel of the space. It looks like those panels could have been engineered, cut out and fitted into place on site, like a production line.
There’s a temporary feeling to industrial buildings and their large volumes mean you can do so much with them. The slotted-in plywood furniture makes you think that at any point it could be dismantled and used for something else. It adds a sculptural, graphic element that’s in keeping with the workshop legacy of the building.”
Lansdowne Crescent, London W11
“I love the incredibly beautiful sculptural form of the wood, which is wrapped around the curves of the room. There wasn’t necessarily a reason to make a feature out of the bathroom, but they’ve done it anyway.
“Plywood was first used in train carriages to give them a sense of grandeur, and this reminds me of that. It also found early application in furniture design, and it’s interesting that we’ve gone from it being used to fit the shape of the body, to being used for the interiors of buildings to give them organic form.”
Bavaria Road, London N19
“I like that the plywood box is an incredibly intrusive intervention that looks like its floating above the rest of the space. It doesn’t interfere with any of the original features, yet has completely changed its appearance, softening it, while also being quite graphic.
“That’s the thing about plywood, it can be both structural and contribute to the character of a space. I like how it’s a natural material, while also being quite heavily engineered, so it can be used in a variety of contexts and feel different.”
Half Moon Lane, London SE24
“I’ve seen plywood used really sculpturally and as a heavy, durable material, but I’ve never seen it forming a moving part in this way.
“It looks like something that should be made out of metal, but they’ve opted for wood to establish a sense of continuity with the rest of the details. It celebrates the diversity of the material, and I love that grain effect when it is cut.”
Burnham Market, Norfolk
“I like how the material has been used here in absence of paint or any other intentional form of decoration. The way the light is absorbed and bounces off the wood in the main space dramatically enhances the volume.
“You see plywood here as a building material that doesn’t provide any structural integrity but is rather used as a sort of skin to the building, giving it its internal identity.”