For only the second time in the past 12 years, NELMA participated with an exhibit at the National Convention of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), held June 26-28 in Chicago. This event was the second Softwood Lumber Board (SLB) sponsored activity for the North American industry’s “appearance” type wood products, defined as interior pattern products, exterior siding, and outdoor decking (JLC Live in Providence in March was the first SLB-sponsored event).
An estimated 17,000 architects and design professionals attended the AIA Convention. The format of the event is centered on providing continuing education to attendees with designated hours for exploration of the trade show floor. More than 375 seminars, workshops, demonstrations, and architectural tours are available to participants, all with varying assigned continuing education credits.
Housed under the “Wood Pavilion” banner on the convention floor, NELMA joined two other softwood product trade associations, each with 10’x10’ spaces (Southern Forest Products Association and Western Wood Products Association) within the designated area, which also included wood product manufacturers. Supporting the overall use of softwood lumber products, the larger SLB-sponsored reThink Wood exhibit neighbored the all-wood sector of the exhibit floor. Around 800 total exhibitors took part in the Convention, with other non-wood materials commanding joint spaces, such as concrete, composite, and the metal industries.
“One look around the exhibit floor and it becomes quite clear that today’s architects are being bombarded with replacement
products for what typically are wood product applications,” cited Jeff Easterling, President of NELMA. “It becomes our job to showcase and convince these important design professionals that wood products are the most sustainable and versatile building material choice today that automatically come with historical relevance and confidence.”
The most popular market-support item provided by NELMA at the exhibit was the Eastern White Pine Grades “Swatch” along with the EWP Patterns booklet, both highly-useful specification pieces for this important building design audience, according to Jeff. “The White Pine Monograph Series continues to gain interest and subscriptions from architects as they seek design ideas both from contemporary and historical applications.”