Virginia Tech University Invites Nature Inside with Wood Wall Paneling Design

When Virginia Tech University constructed Lavery Hall, a giant stone‑and‑glass building that houses the campus’s world‑class dining facility, the project managers searched diligently for natural building materials that would help them achieve a LEED Silver green building certification.

In Pursuit of Sustainable Wood Wall Paneling 

David Chinn, Capital Project Manager at VT, decided on a towering wood wall paneling design as an architectural statement inside Origami, the hall’s golden‑lit sushi and steakhouse establishment. With the LEED certification in mind, it was important to find a striking wood product that had been sustainably and locally harvested

Chinn says, “… The Bark House® live edge slabs were pursued from a LEED perspective and contributed toward the overall scoring for the building, which achieved LEED Silver. They are a stunning focal point in a spectacular space.”

Now, towering slabs of white pine rise in formation behind flickering fires on teppanyaki grills inside Origami. The slabs’ back‑lit live edges, still bristling with texture, help soften the restaurant’s stones and metals, breathing nature back into the modern industrial space.

Wood wall paneling designs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In Origami, the use of slabs creates a giant magnetic, mysterious display that can be enjoyed by diners in all corners of the restaurant. The slabs’ live edges flow across the walls, creating a sense of intriguing movement that is only heightened by the dance of grill fires and the steady golden lighting throughout. 

Alison Smith, Public Relations Lead for VT Northeast, emphasized that Bark House’s massive live edge wood slabs were “important to the overall design” of the restaurant’s atmosphere.

How Massive Wood Slabs Bring Nature Inside—Sustainably

ArchDaily reports, “Today, the majority of people spend almost 80‑90% of their time indoors, moving between their homes and workplaces. As interior designers embrace biophilia” —humans’ natural craving for nature— “they make spaces that better reduce stress while improving cognitive function and creativity.”

Consumers inspired by biophilic design and seeking to bring more nature into their homes are usually equally concerned with the environmental impact of their design materials. Sustainably harvested wood slabs help restore, rather than merely preserve, the local ecosystem. 

In 2017, Bark House received the Support of Local Wood Products Award from Root Case. This was in response to our efforts to renew our forests while also strengthening our local economy by supporting jobs in the forest products industry. This award‑winning commitment to regenerative processes is one of the reasons projects like Origami use Bark House’s live edge wood slabs and materials that are sourced only from wind‑fall trees or when tree removal is necessary for safety or egress issues. These slabs aren’t cut from healthy, old‑growth forests. 

Storied, one‑of‑a‑kind tree slabs usher nature into even windowless or dimly‑lit spaces. Whether used as a mantel, a wood wall paneling design, or even a dining room table, massive wood slabs bring the forest into your home, workplace, or business in a bold, intriguing way. These sustainable wall paneling products resonate with clients who value a balance of regenerative philosophy and truly striking design impact.

Choosing Wood Slabs for Your Wall Paneling Design

Newly manufactured wood wall paneling products are affordable and easy to find. But it is important to remember that like fast fashion or MDF wood products, manufactured wood slabs often lack longevity, authenticity, and critical information about how the products were sourced. Most importantly, you should determine if the wood slabs you are considering have been manufactured in a regenerative way. 

Reclaimed wood such as the trees used in Bark House’s massive wood slabs comes with the guarantee of sustainable processes, a legacy of living history, and the truly one‑of‑a‑kind grains, whorls, and stories of wizened tree products. 

Perhaps most important of all, using reclaimed rather than manufactured wood slabs in your next wall paneling design creates a genuine, sustainably‑focused interior that brings nature inside in an authentic, multisensory fashion. The best biophilic designs incorporate natural products before mimicry. There is no substitute for nature in architecture.

Project Details

Project Name | Origami

Product | Bark House® Massive Wooden Slabs: White Pine

Location | Virginia Tech University

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