The Cocoon

American Hardwood Cocoon Finds a New Home at Dubai Creek Harbour Installation serves as live test case for thermally-modified American ash

May 5, 2017 – ‘The Cocoon’, a collaborative installation between T.ZED Architects and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, is serving as an observation deck at the Dubai Creek Harbour Promenade. Originally built for Downtown Design Dubai 2016, the installation has found a new home at Dubai Creek Harbour (DCH), initially as a part of RiseDCH, a brand- new lifestyle experience, which brings ‘The Future of Living’ to Dubai, in a showcase of emerging trends and concepts from the world of music, retail, technology design and gastronomy. Following the conclusion of RiseDCH, ‘The Cocoon’ will remain on site and serve as a live test case for thermally-modified American ash and American white oak.

“‘The Cocoon’ has been given a new use and therefore a new life. Positioning it in a modern man-made landscape along the waterfront really continues the narrative of challenge what users perceive as ‘contextual’. The new materiality brought through with the thermally- modified ash is also an experiment on how this natural material will weather. We are not worried about this – in fact we encourage it. Some of the original ideas behind ‘The Cocoon’ have also been translated in the new location. Now, the cityscape is framed in the distance along the waterfront in the horizon. Above, another moment of reflection is provided through the ‘skylight’. The brief is continued whereby we have given a new life to the thermally-modified ash and the pavilion,” said Tarik Al Zaharna, Founder and Director, T.ZED Architects

Using thermally-modified American ash that was previously used to clad AHEC’s pavilions at exhibitions in Turkey, in concert with American white oak for the structural elements, T.ZED Architects and AMBB Furniture Manufacturing have produced an installation that will provide an opportunity to test the durability and performance of thermally-modified ash

and white oak in a climate and context that are very different from where they are more often used, and naturally sourced. According to Al Zaharna, the biggest challenge was to not only utilize a specific quantity of thermally-modified ash, but to also give new life through new usage whilst also ensuring the least amount of wastage.

“Designed to showcase the materials used, ‘The Cocoon’ attracted a lot of attention at Downtown Design last year while also providing a ‘quiet space’ within the bustling trade fair. Significantly, it gave AHEC the opportunity to highlight the possibilities offered by thermally-modified American hardwoods (TMT), as well as to stimulate discussion around the environmental benefits of working with U.S. hardwoods,” added Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania. “Our aim with ‘The Cocoon’ was to showcase it at the fair and then ensure it had a prolonged presence in the public realm around Dubai and the UAE. Now in its new home at Dubai Creek Harbour, the installation is a welcome addition to the evolving DCH landscape and, significantly, is serving as a live test-case for the material.”


About AHEC

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) is the leading international trade association for the U.S. hardwood industry, representing the committed exporters among U.S. hardwood companies and all the major U.S. hardwood production trade associations. AHEC runs a worldwide programme to promote American hardwoods in over 50 export markets, concentrating on providing architects, specifiers, designers and end-users with technical information on the range of species, products and sources of supply. In addition, AHEC also produces a full range of technical publications. For more information, please visit:

About T.ZED Architects

T.ZED Architects is an international multiple award-winning Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design practice engaged in projects in the Middle East via their Dubai office, as well as projects in Europe with an office in Luxembourg. Founded in 2015 by Architect Tarik Al Zaharna who has previously practiced in the U.S. and Europe, before establishing T.ZED Architects. T.ZED Architects delivers contextually driven and highly- detailed projects across multiple scales and sectors for private and commercial clients globally. For more information, please visit:

About American white oak (Quercus spp.)
American white oak is similar in color and appearance to European oak. The sapwood of American white oak is light colored and the heartwood is light to dark brown. White oak is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than red oak. White oak, therefore, has more figure.

About American ash (Fraxinus spp.)
American ash is similar in appearance to European ash. The sapwood is light colored to nearly white and the heartwood varies from greyish brown to light brown, to pale yellow streaked with brown. The wood is generally straight grained with a coarse uniform texture. The degree and availability of light colored sapwood, and other properties, will vary according to the growing regions. For example, Southern ash lumber will be faster grown and contain more sapwood and therefore, a higher percentage of white color, but compared to Northern ash, it has a more open texture and grain.

This thermally-modified ash has been subjected to high temperatures in a controlled environment, resulting in permanent alteration of the wood’s chemical and physical properties. It does not absorb moisture and is dimensionally very stable. It is less prone to warping and twisting with changes in humidity, making it perfect for outdoor use.