Plywood, in all its utilitarian glory, is certainly not a traditional design element. The material begins with a rotary lathe and a log; the lathe essentially peels the log, turning it into long, thin sheets of wood. Layering the sheets (or “plys”) in rotating directions and adhering them with heat and glue gives plywood its structural integrity. (Plywood’s cousin, oriented strand board, is made of smaller strips of wood combined in a similar way.) It is strong and inexpensive, but until recently was considered strictly a building material and would be disguised with a more attractive drywall or siding.
However, contemporary architects and designers have begun to embrace it as a cheaper alternative to lumber, and the appearance of exposed plywood has increased exponentially in recent years.
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