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In the second part of our article series from the furniture workshop in Vejen, Denmark - the latest addition to our Danish production sites - we delve into three new stories. Throughout the series, we meet some of the people who contribute to the production of Finn Juhl’s furniture in Denmark.

We begin in the machine department, where Lars, the foreman and one of the most experienced craftspeople, shares insights from his two decades at the workshop. From there, we step into the upholstery workshop, where Faeiq, who is originally from Syria, tells us about how he applies his tailoring experience to his work at the furniture workshop today. Finally, we meet Christo, one of the newest members of the team of cabinetmakers, whose journey spans from South Africa to Denmark.

Read along as we continue to explore the craftsmanship and meet more passionate people who play a vital role in bringing Finn Juhl’s designs to life.

If you have not read the first part of the series, you can find it here.

The Reading Chair is one of the Finn Juhl models produced at the workshop in Vejen, Denmark.
The furniture workshop in Vejen, Denmark, boasts a rich history of over a century, specializing in the craftsmanship of solid wood furniture.
In a secluded corner of the furniture workshop, the sunlight pours through the windows, casting a warm glow that illuminates the wooden components.

In the workshop, where we meet Lars, the sun casts gentle shadows upon the worn, solid wooden floors. The sound of machinery and the scent of freshly cut wood fill the space as he tells the story of how he entered the joinery profession.

“I am a trained woodcutting machinist, and my family used to own a small chair factory that closed about 20 years ago,” he shares, glancing across the machines. “I came to Vejen after that, and now I have celebrated my 20th anniversary here on August 1st, 2023.”

Rooted in a lineage of cabinetmakers, Lars continues the family tradition. “Crafting furniture is in my blood – my grandfather was a cabinetmaker; my father was a cabinetmaker. Essentially, my entire family. It’s my roots. It was a choice between this or becoming a social worker. While the idea of being a social worker also appealed to me, the most straightforward path was through high school. However, as I wasn’t particularly fond of school in general, I opted to pursue an apprenticeship to become a woodcutting machinist - a choice I'm still happy with to this day."

Lars, who is the foreman in the machine department at the furniture workshop in Vejen, Denmark.

“Crafting furniture is in my blood.

My grandfather was a cabinetmaker;

my father was a cabinetmaker. Essentially,

my entire family. It’s my roots."

“Crafting furniture is in my blood.

My grandfather was a cabinetmaker;

my father was a cabinetmaker.

Essentially, my entire family. It’s my roots."

Lars’ career in the furniture industry spans decades of development and change. “Throughout my time in Vejen, things have changed many times. That’s what makes it exciting. I’ve been part of developing various new models, and now, we’ve started the production of Finn Juhl’s designs. My career as a woodcutting machinist started by crafting quality furniture for a company named Dyrlund. However, it is incredibly gratifying to now work on the most exclusive pieces from Finn Juhl, which present a challenging yet rewarding task."

Today, Lars is the foreman in the machine department and is involved in various facets of the production. “If I didn’t enjoy my job, I wouldn't have made the daily 130-kilometer drive from Nordfyn, where I live, to Vejen for the past 20 years!"

When the machines rest and the lights are switched off in the workshop, Lars dedicates much of his time to a cherished pastime. “I really enjoy line dancing in my spare time, and I’m also a line dance instructor at a club in Odense. Occasionally, I organize workshops on weekends for special occasions.”

Lars, however, doesn’t confine his passions solely to the workshop and the dance floor. “Recently, I’ve started going to flea markets, combining it with a bit of vacation. It’s become a fun thing where we sell old cups, glasses, pitchers, bowls, key rings, and such. It’s not just a transaction; it’s cozy – you get to chat with people, and it doesn’t take much to set up and take down our booth.”

In the machine department at the workshop in Vejen, Denmark.
Faeiq can be spotted behind one of the large cutting tables.
Details from the work in the upholstery workshop.

Following our conversation with Lars, we enter the upholstery workshop. The humming sound of sewing machines fills the room and along the walls are shelves neatly stocked with rows of sewing thread in a variety of colours.

Amidst the organized chaos of cutting tables and sewing machines, we meet Faeiq. His extensive experience as a tailor in Syria has equipped him with a unique skill set that he now applies to his work at the furniture workshop in Vejen, Denmark. "I've been here at the workshop for nearly six years now. Although I don't have a formal education in sewing, I have many years of experience working as a tailor in Syria. I particularly enjoy the upholstery work and operating the sewing machines here," he explains.

Faeiq's daily tasks involve precise cutting as well as meticulous sewing and upholstery work. His pride in the craft shines through as he explains the necessary precision and care required.

“When you work with the Finn Juhl models, everything must be 100% perfect. It requires precision and attention to detail,” emphasizes Faeiq.

For Faeiq, the work is about more than just perfecting the furniture; it’s also the friendships with his colleagues that add joy to his work life. “I’m very happy with my work here. We have a strong sense of community, and I have many wonderful colleagues,” he adds with a smile.

Faeiq's daily tasks span from precise cutting to meticulous sewing and upholstery work.

Faeiq lives in Fåborg, a small town located between the cities of Esbjerg and Vejen, Denmark, not far from the furniture workshop. In his free time, he finds joy in sharing moments with his family, especially enjoying quality time with his two sons. “I have two boys. They are twins and 11 years old. When I'm not working, I spend a lot of time with them. We go to the club where they play soccer, enjoy the public swimming pool, or explore nature. Being with them is my way of unwinding,” he says, while the sewing machines gently hum in the background.

Reflecting on his journey since leaving his homeland, Syria, almost a decade ago, Faeiq expresses gratitude for the contentment he has found in Denmark. "I came to Denmark from Syria in 2015, fleeing the war. But I am genuinely happy here in Denmark," he concludes, leaving an impression that he has indeed created a meaningful base with his family in Denmark.

Precision in focus: Details captured in the intricacies of the sewing machine work.
The cabinetmaker, Christo, carefully glues together the wooden components that will make up the frame for Finn Juhl's 108 Chair.

In one of the spacious production halls, skilled cabinetmakers work diligently among the numerous chair components. With precision, they apply glue to the drilled holes in the wooden frames. Afterwards, the wooden parts are carefully pressed together. Once the glue sets, the finished pieces move on to the next phase of production. It is in this dynamic setting that we meet Christo, one of the newest additions to the team of talented cabinetmakers, with a story that spans from South Africa to Denmark.

“I’ve been working at the furniture factory for eight months,” he says. “I trained as a cabinetmaker at the technical college in Vejle, and my apprenticeship was with a company named Spekva in Vamdrup, a small city in Denmark.”

In a chat about his tasks at the workshop, Christo details his involvement in the furniture production. “I work on a bit of everything, such as the Fireplace Chair, the 109 Chair, and the 108 Chair. I’ve been here for such a short time that Finn Juhl’s furniture has always been part of my work. It’s exciting that we’re in a process of continually producing more and more Finn Juhl models, providing us with something new to work on and new challenges.”

Christo explains that working with wood has always been appealing to him, but his family's background has also significantly influenced his path to becoming a cabinetmaker. “My grandparents were both engineers and architects, so the interest for these fields has always been part of my awareness. Besides, I couldn’t imagine sitting still in an office chair for eight hours a day.”

The glue is carefully applied to the drilled holes, and then the wooden components are pressed together.
The cabinetmaker, Christo, is assembling the chairs among the numerous wooden components.

As Christo works on the wooden components, he talks about his upbringing. “I was born and raised in South Africa and have now spent around 10-11 years in Denmark. Even though my grandparents were Danish, my mother was born in Zambia. A big part of my family still lives in South Africa. I have two sisters and a brother. One sister lives in the USA, but my father, being a farmer, is not going anywhere. He stays put. We come from a place called Tzaneen, very close to Kruger National Park, so we've spent a lot of time in nature among the animals.”

Christo explains how he ended up in Denmark. “I traveled to England to play cricket, and from there, I had to come to Denmark to renew my Danish passport, which I already had. And then I just ended up staying,” he says with a smile. “Today, I still play cricket, but now it’s in Kolding. It’s a sport that I’ve been practicing since I was 4-5 years old. And I live just outside of the city of Kolding, so it’s convenient – also in relation to my work here in Vejen.”

Reflecting on his ties to Denmark, he chuckles softly. “I have a Danish girlfriend, and we have two small children. So, moving back to South Africa would be even more challenging now. While we don't have plans to return permanently, we often travel there to visit family. My son has already been twice. He loves being on the farm, fishing by the lake, driving around in the big cars, and all that comes with it. He’s a lively one, and it’s so great to see him thriving there as well.”

“Although it’s sometimes challenging not being able to see my parents and grandparents, we have fortunately become good at using video chat. We’ve used it a lot in the last couple of years to stay connected,” Christo concludes.


In the production hall, our article series from the furniture workshop in Vejen, Denmark, comes to an end. We hope these portraits have offered a glimpse into the craftsmanship behind Finn Juhl's furniture, illustrating the intricate process behind each piece. We wish to continue to shed light upon the skilled people crafting our Danish furniture, now sold to and cherished by Finn Juhl enthusiasts across the globe.

 

With precision, the cabinetmaker, Christo, applies glue to the drilled holes in the wooden components.
The craftsmanship up close. Details from the assembly process.
The wooden components for the frame of Finn Juhl's elegant 108 Chair are pressed together.