Danish design legend Hans Bølling launches new furniture

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“When old people really get old, they often buy new Porsche. I bought a lathe,” recalls Danish architect and designer Hans Boring. Ten years after he got it, the lathe continues to sit in his home studio in Charlottenlund, north of Copenhagen. This is a low wooden building with generous skylights packed with tools, raw materials, files, sketches and handmade prototypes. A lifelong dedication to design and manufacturing.

Rather, as Bølling says, dedication to playing. For all the wisdom that has been inflicted over the years, he retains a boyish sense of curiosity and joy that immediately reminds him of his famous wooden animal: some of them. A family of dogs with articulated joints and floppy leather ears, and a teak duck and duckling pup movable head.

Hans Boring taken at home in Charlottenlund in April 2019

“I’ve been playing since I was 14 years old, but I stay in the workshop until 12:01, drawing pictures, making paper models, and making things out of wood,” Bølling said. say. He admits that mid-century design icon Ole Wanscher (62-year-old wife’s uncle Søs) has taught the importance of actually experiencing the material. He doesn’t work on a computer.

Boring’s work included major architectural projects such as Japanese boarding schools in Southern Denmark, but nowadays he spends his time on furniture projects that were once just a hobby. His latest work: lounge chairs (his first), stools and coffee tables were all created in collaboration with Danish furniture label Brdr Krüger and will be unveiled at the Copenhagen Design Festival 3 Days of Design in June this year. The work riffs a wooden “tray” table, a 1963 design that he calls his most proud achievement. Produced by Brdr Krüger since 1990, “Tray” is a simple genius piece. It consists of two circular reversible trays and is supported by a foldable four-legged frame on the wheels. Each cylindrical leg has a gently recessed top that allows the user to place their finger and easily pull the frame in their own direction. “It’s a symbolic and clever structure. It’s rugged in appearance, but with playful and engaging details,” said Jonas Krüger, creative director and fifth-generation owner of Brdr Krüger.

The new “HB” coffee table is the most direct translation of the “tray”, wider and with wheels removed. The stool and lounge chair, on the other hand, draw a four-legged structure from it. At the top of the stool is a pair of additional bars to support the seating surface of the canvas. The chair also features canvas seats, as well as gently bending canvas armrests and an adjustable back cushion that can be slid up and down with counterweights. All are equipped with traditional shoulder tenon fittings, with no nails or screws. The design combines a disciplined architectural mindset with a fascinating warmth – as Kluger points out, “it’s a really great line to get it right.”

Details of the “HB” stool. The stool and lounge chair draw a four-legged structure from the iconic “tray” table designed by Hansboring in 1963. Photo: Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Sandie Lykke Nolsøe

The Kluger family has been working with Boring for decades. It was Jonas’ grandfather Helge who produced the first wooden ducks in 1957, and Jonas’ father Niels who took over the production of the “tray” in 1990 when Boring was unsatisfied. Quality of production by another manufacturer. Jonas played a key role in the recent resurgence of interest in Bølling’s design output, working closely with Bølling to review and refine unrealized prototypes and devise entirely new pieces. “Hans is always very excited to try to make something new. He is not so well known and does not have much furniture work, but he is as important as Børge Mogensen. I hope it will be considered.

Beyond the fact that they represent new works by non-elderly designers, the works of the Bølling collection stand out within their forest. They are offered not only in the classic Danish carpenter’s workshop, the English oak, but also in American maple and American cherries, and on request in American red oak. American options reflect a partnership with the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), a leading industry group that has been flagging American timber for over 30 years.

“HB” chair. Photo: Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Sandie Lykke Nolsøe

Demand for English oak far exceeds supply (the war in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation and puts great pressure on the European supply chain), but maple, cherry and red oak are abundant in American hardwoods. It has grown up and is not fully utilized. David Venables, AHEC’s European director, explains that the council’s intention is not to replace European timber with American alternatives, but to expand the options available to designers and customers. Change your reliance on a single source of wood and expand your options. “

With the Bølling collection, you need to look at maple and cherries from a new perspective. As Krüger explains, maple furniture often has a yellow tint that is unpopular with consumers. Avoiding the usual natural oil finish, the brand chose whitening oil. This gives Maple’s new piece a light and attractive tone of white ash. Cherry, which was popular in the 1980s and is often associated with the shiny flooring still used on yachts, looks very delicate here and is offered at an affordable price instead of walnuts. Red oak can be difficult to distinguish from European oak (“red” refers to the color of autumn leaves, not the color of wood), but importantly, red oak is cultivated in larger areas. That is. It is a more variant and makes its usage more sustainable. (Venables also emphasizes that bringing timber from the other side of the world does not necessarily mean an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, as long as timber is being transported by boat. Sustainability is AHEC and excess. It is of paramount importance to Brdr Krüger, who collects sawdust. It heats up the workshop.)

“HB” table. Photo: Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen and Sandie Lykke Nolsøe

Ultimately, Bølling, Krüger and Venables all want to emphasize the virtues of wood as a material that not only accommodates a variety of aesthetic tastes, but also acts as a carbon bank. “If you keep a wooden chair for decades and pass it on to the next generation, you’re actually storing carbon. During this time, new trees grow and carbon dioxide emissions go above zero. That’s why it’s important to build it to last, ”explains Krüger.

Boring, whose 60-year-old “tray” table sales have doubled in recent years, knows what it takes to create a timeless design. It’s not only architectural thinking and geometric rigor, but also a passion for experimentation. “Start making lots of things, like drawings, small models, wooden planes, and get all the ideas in your head,” he advises the next generation. “Start playing.” §

The “HB” collection taken at the Brdr Krüger workshop in Værløse in April 2022

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