Behind Garde Hvalsøe are three cabinetmakers and an architect with a shared professional pride, rooted in the Nordic design tradition, and a common passion. ‘Thoughts and Wood’, is the motto embedded in their logo, and these two words capture the full breadth of Garde Hvalsøe’s universe. Their efforts to create simple, honest designs and achieving highly aesthetic functionality without superfluous ornamentation is driven by a strong mindset. Similarly, the shared passion for wood forms both a common thread and a natural point of departure.
The love of wood
With this background in cabinetmaking and the Danish craft and design culture, Garde Hvalsøe is driven by a profound love of wood. Garde Hvalsøe works in solid wood, including maple, elm and American walnut, which they combine with a range of other quality materials to achieve contrast and beauty in the meeting between wood and, say, brass or granite. But it all begins with the love of wood.
‘Wood is one of the most natural raw materials for furniture production, and it has been used in a processed form since mankind’s earliest history. We use wood to sit on, to sit at, to eat from and countless other purposes. Therefore, putting a beautiful wooden surface in your kitchen is a very natural choice.’
– Søren Lundh Aagaard
Every single piece of furniture that leaves Garde Hvalsøe’s hands is the result of a close collaboration with the individual client. Some people contact the firm to create their dream kitchen, others come to them with a desire to extend a consistent style to the whole house with a bespoke kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe, all in the same type of wood and with Garde Hvalsøe’s exquisite cabinetmaking stamp. The details are crucial, and Garde Hvalsøe’s DNA includes handleless drawers with classic cabinetmaking joints.
‘When we create a piece of Garde Hvalsøe furniture, we are standing on the shoulders of a long and proud crafts tradition that cabinetmakers have refined for generations. In every meeting with each unique piece of wood, we strive for perfection in every detail – from the first wood shaving hits the floor until the last coat of oil has been applied.’
– Søren Lundh Aagaard
After creating many bespoke kitchen projects for homes with Dinesen floors, Garde Hvalsøe came up with the idea of designing a kitchen that would seem like a natural extension of the plank floor. Solutions where Garde Hvalsøe’s craftsmanship and grasp of quality meet Dinesen’s craftsmanship and quality wood. Today, the first kitchens have been created as a result of this design partnership, both in Denmark and abroad.
In the design, the floor is incorporated with the use of solid Dinesen planks in the construction of the kitchen, where the big dimensions of Dinesen’s Extraordinary by Nature collection enable coherent, uninterrupted lines. Thus, the grain on the front of the drawers brings out the grandeur of the individual tree in the finished kitchen.
Another outcome of a design partnership is the Tree Trunk, which Garde Hvalsøe created in cooperation with schmidt hammer lassen architects in a desire to design tomorrow’s world based on a vision of quality and craftsmanship rather than mass-produced and standardised furniture.
The Tree Trunk is a sculptural storage solution that invites nature in and a hybrid of art and furniture. The piece is designed in 3D, and then the drawings are converted to tension moulds that shape the shells, which are made of extra-thick elm wood veneer. Seven editions of the Tree Trunk exist, five of them in private ownership. The remaining two are waiting for private collectors looking for a unique piece of wooden furniture with quality craftsmanship in every detail.