Meet The Artist Turning Endangered Woods Into Sustainable Design


Alexandra Climent in her studio sculpting a shell-shaped music stand from tropical wood

New York-based Alexandra Climent centers her furniture and sculpture making on the use of endangered tropical hardwoods she sources in Central and South America. Championing the primordial beauty of these materials, her finely crafted tables, vessels and music stands are at once straightforward and playful. Luxe learns more.

Portrait of Alexandra Climent in the jungle

Tropical-wood shell-shaped music stand shot in the jungle

A wood bowl on a grassy landscape

Tell us a bit about your process. The jungle’s naturally felled hardwoods are in a very raw state when extracted. Milling them is difficult and, at times, dangerous. But these are some of the most rare, beautiful and durable woods in the world, many of which are never used for design purposes or even seen outside the rainforest. After I get them in working condition, I start the long process of shaping them into various objects. I never use dyes or stains because their original colors—often ranging from orange to pink to purple—are mesmerizing on their own.

How do you develop your designs? My concepts formulate around ideas of the rainforest, sculpted shells from the oceans surrounding the jungle, but also waves and river bends. I love the notion of utility within my pieces—of function and purpose. The idea from the beginning was always that this material was permanent, useful, made to last. Sit in the piece, play music from it, have conversations around it.

What are you working on now? I recently founded the Endangered Rainforest Rescue nonprofit, a project dedicated to reforesting endangered tree species in the Darién Gap in Panama—one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.