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Lasting aesthetics

Created by a former TV celebrity who became a furniture entrepreneur, Danish brand Handvärk takes no shortcuts and the company’s designs stay true to its Nordic DNA.

Words Johan Magnusson

While the majority of the Danish furniture brands work with wood, Handvärk chose a different path, making furniture in high-quality steel, iron, brass and aniline leather. Additionally, the prestigious Italian quarry Luce di Carrara produces a selection of marble that has been carefully chosen for its unique characteristics to suit the collection.

With a genuine marble collection, a material crafted by nature throughout millions of years, the brand offers sustainability and quality that will last a lifetime. The materials are all heavy to work with, and therefore, Handvärk has had to come up with innovative solutions in terms of production, assembling and packaging. However, the products are still kept at attractive price levels.

—Handvärk is much more than a business to us. We believe in simplicity and sustainability on a personal and corporate level. We make sustainability a natural part of our everyday work, or simply put: we strive to stay socially responsible, establish long-term partnerships and have an overall positive impact on the world. From the beginning of each unique design process, the optimal modern production method is considered and taken into account. For us, repetition of materials and processes is the key and always essential. The purpose of all our efforts is to heighten the quality of the piece of furniture itself and not what surrounds it. In doing so we can provide the highest possible quality — made in Denmark, says Kristian Rohde, CEO.

Founder and Creative Director Emil Thorup is a former TV-host with a huge passion for design and architecture. He created Hardvärk in 2015 after a visit to the famous Salone del Mobile in Milan.

— To be honest, I saw so much dreadful design that I thought to myself: I must be able to do it better, or at least just as good.

And does that also mean that you’ve entered the furniture industry with some kind of outside perspective?

— Definitely! I think our approach to the whole industry is very different. We have no experience in the furniture business, which has given us a fresh set of eyes on how to design, produce and market our furniture. We’ve reached out to over 30 countries — far more than I could’ve ever imagined, and I’m so proud.

Which are your key products?

— We are surprisingly selling almost the same amount of all of our products — but, of course, we have our ”darlings” — design that will never go out of our collection. The Daybed is probably the most iconic piece, and the one that put us on the map. But the Coffee Table 90 is probably, in quantity, the best selling product.

How is business going?

— Overwhelming. We’re growing on multiple markets simultaneously, which of course is both a blessing and a curse. Because I’m a known person in Denmark, we didn’t focus on the Danish market in the beginning, as I wanted ”proof of concept” outside our borders. But now we are focusing on it again, and opening our first flagship store in Copenhagen as we speak.

As for all Scandinavian brands, sustainability is key for you. However, you have a slightly different approach to it.

— Yes, we work with a term called ”aesthetic sustainability,” where we try to design something that is so timeless in design, and with such a solid and durable construction, that it can last a lifetime. On top of that, we produce most of our products in Denmark with robot technology, which ensures almost 0% waste, because very few products are discarded in the process, as well as limiting transportation emissions.

What’s in store for the future?

— In the pipeline is a barstool, another dining chair, and a shelving/storage unit. We want to continue to grow and add design that makes sense to our collection. We’re going to hold on to that stringent and tight line of design that we have now, to make sure you always can tell when it’s aHandvärk design.

February 8, 2019

Handvärk has a pop-up showroom at Scandinavian MAN, Mäster Samuelsgatan 42, during Design Week.

Danish elegance in the suite at The Berkeley Hotel in London.
Handvärk furniture on display.