I am trying to achieve this curved wood look as pictured below. I am interested in knowing what tools I need or if I need a particular kind of wood. (I am referring to the white curved section)
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That is a very expensive podium, probably has a cost in the 20K range. You can do laminated wood and then cut into the curve (very expensive as it takes a large amount of high quality wood) or you can try some cheaper options using plywood.
If you only need to do a slight curve, thin plywood has a lot of flex in it. Just nail/screw it onto a frame. If you need a tighter curve than what the plywood will allow there are a couple of options. If only one face will show, you can in essence thin the plywood further by using kerfs. Look up a guide on google and find one you are comfortable with. Another option is using steam to soften the glue in the plywood which then will allow a tighter bend.
There's a fair amount of detail work there, but I don't see anything hugely difficult.
Curves: others have mentioned the standard approaches, eithr build up a blank from segments and then cut to shape or use wood-bending techniques. Correction yo my first thought: flat painted ring with bent/stained/varnished molding would achieve most of the effect at less cost. The columns are stacked blocks at bottom and top with an octagonal "barrel" glue-up between them, 22.5 degree miters, pared round and with coves cut into appropriate pieces.
Plus the platform and lectern surface and similar details...
Making it look good will take care and patience and some skill and time. At least it's mostly painted; paint can hide many sins.
I don't know where you live, but in large areas there will be a plywood supplier and he almost certainly has pre-kerfed MDF and such.
When you set out to make curved sections by bending thin flexible material (whether that be plywood or kerf cut solid wood) it is almost essential that you pre-make a form to bend around and allow for clamping of the material. This form can be made using low cost 1/2 inch plywood cut in the flat with the edge fitted to the inside dimension of the target piece.
Multiple patterns are cut all the same shape/size and stacked and fastened to low cost 2x4 lumber sandwiched in between the layers. The 2x4 lumber is kept in from the edge so it does not need to be contoured. Create the stack thickness up toward the width of your curved piece.
Then you can glue up layers of the flexible material one by one as they are fitted and clamped to the form.
If you build up a reasonable thickness of the curved pieces that go around the podium top (or I see one at the base too) you do not need to make them all in one piece. Multiple parts can be joined end to end. One joinery scheme could even use counter top clamp bolt assemblies to cinch the parts together although that would work far better in laminated plywood layers than it would with kerf cut layers.