The understated luxury of hand-crafted wood furniture does more than serve a basic function. It makes a statement, tells a story, and adds to the beauty and charm that makes a home unique and artful. Heirloom-quality furniture usually starts with a set of fundamental elements. These include structurally sound methods grounded in old-world style, sustainable materials with timeless longevity and a distinct intrinsic flair. The following is a selection of artisans and small companies that are keeping the woodworking tradition alive by using sustainable practices and innovative techniques.
Reclaimed Wood Tree Swing from designers Peg and Awl, Crafted from old growth Pine salvaged from antique flooring from a 19th century home, the Reclaimed Wood Tree Swing adds a vintage, charming look to a backyard or garden, and works best when hung from a large tree branch. The thick slab of wood is finished with hand-rubbed natural tung oil, which makes the seat water resistant and durable. The rope is looped through both sides of the seat and is secured with a five-loop fisherman’s knot. Each side of the swing has twenty-five feet of rope attached and can be secured to a branch or metal pole.
With its throwback looks and hearty materials, the Reclaimed Wood Tree Swing is a great way to add a distinctive and functional piece of history to an outdoor space. Founded by husband and wife Margaux and Walter Kent, Peg and Awl is a Philadelphia based design studio that makes handmade goods from repurposed materials.
Walnut Chair from the Torsio Collection, Designed by Salih Teskeredžić -an internationally renowned Bosnian designer with Artisan. The purpose of the Torsio chair design technique is to erase the aesthetic boundary between sculpture made of wood and the industrial product. Form is treated as the most important aspect which is expressive, unique, and yet a product of industrial aesthetics. Walnut as the favoured natural material has been reduced to basic tectonic principle of the plate-seat and legs with a backrest, merged with fluid lines creating a unity of form with no superfluous constructive elements.
Fluidity of form and construction reduced to minimum are the central design themes for the ‘wood technology’ designers at Artisan, who co-founded Arteco, the driving force of a new movement in Bosnia -a sustainable technology wood industry center.
Indoor Desk, From the collection of objects designed by Elisa Cavani of Manoteca. Capturing old, discarded objects and turning them into something new to be appreciated, Manoteca hopes that the object’s new owner will think about the life the object once lived and the stories it invariably told. Often paired with recycled materials, the designer reinvents old objects into one-off designs that are completely handmade and only painted when necessary. Hailing from Bologna Italy, Manoteca re-creates objects in a “wooden house in a garden, a laboratory where old abandoned things and salvaged materials are taken care of, thought-of a second time, and re-assembled.”
La Nuit De Noel, From the collection of objects designed by Manoteca. With great delicacy, a twisted tree dangles a drop of light over a small pool of water. The box grounding the branch is positioned so perfectly at an angle you almost don’t notice the absolute balance that this brings to the piece. The electric source runs through the inside of the tree and the brown wire becomes evident exposed at the top to wrap a few branches before it feeds the exposed bulb. The water provides a reflective surface, mirroring the light source and calming the organic branch.
In the work of Italian designer Elisa Cavani there is an immediate refreshing and humble nature in her approach, everything handmade and a one-off, the pieces echo the spirit of experimentation without the signs of trial and error. At the same time they demonstrate a love captured in the thought that went into making them, as well as in the history and reverence that connects them to something old. Whether it’s a vintage door as a table top, or a tricycle, lamp, and bookshelf ‘Wandering Library‘ creation, the materials blend naturally together to create a harmonious rather than thrown together recycled aesthetic.
Interior NYC Loft, Desinged by Joinery Structures. Founded in 1988, Joinery Structures is a design-build studio and mill in Oakland California specializing in custom projects that integrate sustainable wood practices, innovative design, and precision craftsmanship. Founder and principal, Paul Discoe, is a renowned Japanese master builder and Zen Buddhist teacher. Paul studied architecture as a Buddhist temple builder in Kyoto, Japan for five years during the 1970s. Upon returning to the United States, Paul founded Joinery Structures to continue pursuing his passion for Asian architecture.
By personally training his team in Japanese techniques and representing the architectural process as an embodiment of Zen practice, Paul has helped introduce Asian architecture to the Western world. Joinery Structures is locally and globally recognized for its ability to design and build beautiful spaces and innovative structures. With thoughtful project management, the Joinery Structures team exhibits exceptional skill and knowledge in design, wood milling, construction, and eco-sustainability.
Peroba & Teak Curved Credenza, From Environment whose designs revolve around the central intention of resurrecting reclaimed woods and textiles into impeccably constructed, clean-lined furniture. Part design consortium, part modern craftsman, Environment is a furniture brand unlike any other, underscoring its commitment to people and the planet through a forward thinking dedication to using materials and processes with low environmental impact and working together to eliminate illegal and controversial tropical wood from supply chains and replace it with third party audited and certified timber -such principals have landed them praise from the global community.
Said to have “created functional pieces of art that are monuments to sustainable living,” it is Environment’s successful experimentation with uncommon woods and textiles that quickly established them as a design pioneer. The materials used in Environment’s collections are either reclaimed, recycled or repurposed wood and canvas, providing true diversity in both appearance and texture. The company uses new wood procured from only strictly managed certified forests. Many pieces feature one-of-a-kind boards that have been exposed to the natural elements for decades and acquired a truly ‘weathered’ look that no manufactured artificial distressing can replicate. Interior designers, architects and esteemed eco-couture shoppers can find Environment showrooms in New York & Los Angeles.
Indonesian-based manufacturer KARPENTER’s -the ambassador in the world of eclectic contemporary furniture designs, line of furniture, called Brooklyn, is made from a range of 100% FSC-Certified reclaimed wood. The various tones of wood, from dark to a light Brown, add a layer of warm texture and history to each piece. The collection, which includes a sideboard, bookcase, office desk, bench, and tables, feels like a harmonious mix of contemporary and mid-century modern, and has the presence of rustic and vintage style with a twist of modern appeal. Karpenter is about innovation, while considering the environment and respecting what is classic.
Based in Yogyakarta in the heart of java Island in Indonesia, KARPENTER designs in 100% recycled wood and iron. Their main focus is to bring natural materials in touch with creative minds and skilled hands. Using FSC certified recycled wood and environmentally safe materials, reflects their commitment to operate a strong company with a conscience. As manufacturers with complete in-house design and production teams, they can assure the finest results. Composed by an international dynamic team -French, Italian and Indonesian, who are present all over the world – Asia, United States, Europe, and Australia.
Frank Lloyd Wright Recliner, Designed by Copeland Furniture. Frank Lloyd Wright is without a doubt an icon in the field of American Architecture and furniture design. His creations are recognizable at first glance, and were often specifically created to go into the buildings or homes he designed. Many of these furniture designs even bear the name of the client the piece was commissioned for. Copeland Furniture -natural hardwood furniture made in Vermont, worked with the Wright Foundation and has the rights to reproduce many of his designs to the exacting standards Wright intended a hundred years ago.
Wright designed this recliner in 1902 for the grand home of Susan Lawrence Dana in Springfield Illinois and designed variations of this recliner for many of his Prairie Era homes. Copeland Furniture is a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility on the banks of the Connecticut River in Bradford Vermont, whose design aesthetic coincides with a resurgence of appreciation for designs from the Arts & Crafts, Mission, Shaker, and Scandinavian movements today. Copeland Furniture is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
Journeyman Trunk, Designed by Method Studio, Working closely with the design team at cult Dutch jeanswear label DENHAM, Method Studio created their own modern interpretation of the classic portmanteau steamer trunk. Handcrafted from an elegant skeleton of solid ash, skinned in ultra-thin birch and detailed with hand-stitched leather. Contrasting butterfly catches open to reveal a bespoke interior. Drawing inspiration from birch-bark canoes and bi-plane wing construction, the trunk contains over 600 meticulously interlocked components, all handcrafted at their workshop in a historic Scotland town.
The passionate Method team meticulously designs and handcrafts unique bespoke furniture, trunks, cases and ingenious objects. Using a variety of the finest materials, but specializing in native hardwoods, each exclusive piece is the product of a deeply personal development process, before being individually handmade by a master craftsman. Established by second-generation cabinetmaker Callum Robinson and architect Marisa Giannasi, the goal is always to apply a down-to-earth and practical understanding of the process of making beautiful objects, with a very personal, research-driven and communicative approach to designing them.
Enignum Canopy Bed, Designed by Joesph Walsh, Bring dreams to life with this elegant Olive Ash Wood canopy bed by Joseph Walsh. The design has been carved meticulously creating nothing less than a true work of art. The concept behind the Enignum Canopy Bed was to create a space, a cocooned feeling of protection and enclosure. The silk canopy creates a sense of enclosure and lavishness -which can be customized for each season.
In the Enignum series, the Welch-born, Ireland-based artisan strips wood into thin layers, manipulating and reconstructing them into free-form compositions. He than shapes through the layers to reveal not only the honesty of the structure but the sculpted form which is a unique collaboration of man and material. The title derives from the Latin words Enigma ‘mystery’ and Lignum ‘wood’, which sums up the series: the mystery of the composition lies in the material. Walsh’s work can be found in many significant international Museum and Private Collections and is regularly exhibited at the major art and design fairs.
Nadine Lounge from the Arris Line, Luke Credenza from the Meredith Line, Designed by Benjamin Klebba & Matt Pierce at Phloem Studio in Portland Oregon. All of the furniture is available in domestic hardwoods -Ash, Cherry, Walnut, Rift White Oak, Western (Claro) Walnut, and Western Curly Maple. ‘Phloem’ [floh-em] (noun) -the vascular structure in plants that provides nutrients through photosynthesis, a name that references ecology. A nod to remind oneself as a designer, working with wood as the main medium -trees that were once alive, to honor those materials and design with intention.
Phloem Studio was founded by designer & craftsman Benjamin Klebba after working first for a luthier building acoustic guitars, and then for a custom furniture company, Ben moved to Oregon and Phloem Studio was born. Later, he joined a group of creative friends and their collaboration became a source of inspiration. With an emphasis on natural materials and traditional joinery, Phloem is dedicated to living within the contemporary canon, but outside any trend or fad. Phloem Studio strives to achieve that balance.