The Danish company THORS-DESIGN creates furniture made of upcycled azobé wood sourced from decommissioned ferry landings and wharves. Situated in a little town called Timring, near Herning, in Central Jutland, Denmark, THORS-DESIGN’s key competency is creating unique specimens by hand, so the company does not mass produce furniture. Every piece of furniture from their line of products, which includes tables, benches and stools, is carefully crafted and tailored to the customer’s specific needs, whilst retaining the integrity, history and natural character of the wood.
THORS-DESIGN was founded in 2002 when the company bought the wood from an old retired ferry landing in Korsør, Denmark. The original plank table was then designed in 2005, with an emphasis on simple, minimalistic Scandinavian design.
The azobé wood used for the furniture is an African wood species, whose trunk can grow to a diameter of two metres. Having an extremely dense porosity, azobé wood is practically impermeable and very heavy – one cubic metre weighs more than a ton. Azobé wood is virtually indestructible, with a life cycle lasting as long as the wood’s own history. THORS-DESIGN uses wood that is more than 100 years old, and where about 60 of those years have been spent in Danish harbours. Verified sustainable, the red ironwood, which azobé is also called, contains only natural oils.
“Every piece of furniture dries an additional 10% after dispatch from our factory, and therefore will shrink naturally. The structure of the wood will change, while the cracks and chinks in the wood will become more pronounced over time. This is part of what makes the furniture unique, alive and a piece of art, with a soul that bears nature’s own positive energy into private homes and working environments”, says Carsten Thor, founder of THORS-DESIGN.
THORS-DESIGN’s most time-consuming product to produce is the Thors Uniq plank table. Each plank of the table is smoothed and polished by hand, while the wood used for the Thors Uniq plank table has been patinated by the sides of ferries scrubbing against the wood over its many years in working use. In the process of making the table as genuine as possible, THORS-DESIGN seeks to preserve all the natural, authentic wear and patina – making the furniture imperfect by design.
Very few dare to consider Azobé wood for furniture production. THORS-DESIGN have spent years learning how to work with the wood and have been inspired by the very special patina that the wood has, which can be used to create unique furniture with a sought after Nordic feel. While THORS-DESIGN uses sub-suppliers, there are only three people directly employed in their production, focusing on the way that wood works and moves, in every piece of furniture they make.
The typical process of making a THORS-DESIGN piece of furniture starts by collecting the wood from the Danish ferry landings. Next, the wood is roughly cut and smoothened. The cutting of the wood is made difficult due to the steel bolts and deposits of silicon in the wood. The smoothing is first done with a belt sander, before polishing and smoothing by hand takes over.
Assembling of the furniture often takes place at the customer’s residence due to the fact that a plank table can quite easily weigh up to 400 kilograms, while the bespoke furniture from THORS-DESIGN can be used indoors and outdoors all year round.