Our trip to Denmark part 1. Rud Rasmussen factory

April 4, 2015 By Copenhagen, Factory, Manufacturing, Travel

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Rud Rasmussen Fabrik for Egetræsmøbler (Factory for oak furniture) is one of the oldest and most recognised Danish cabinet makers still producing. What characterised Rud Rasmussen was the close collaboration between the architect and cabinet maker and in this respect the production is quite unique. Their collection of Danish furniture classics is uncompromising in quality and craftsmanship.

The company was started in 1869 by Rudolph Rasmussen and the cabinetmaking business grew from strength to strength, flourishing through 3 generations until the point in the 1950’s & 60’s when they were producing 5,000 Safari chairs a year. However, over the following decades they began to suffer a period of stagnation due to the high costs of making furniture by hand in Copenhagen, they struggled to keep up with the new emerging Danish brands that make their products in China at a fraction of the cost and this meant the company was bought by Carl Hansen in 2011, not for profitable reasons but for the love of an iconic Danish brand.

We were privileged to be allowed access to this historical site to see every stage of the traditional processes involved in making a Rud Rasmussen piece of furniture. Starting off in the cellar of this listed building we saw where their patient and dedicated approach begins, all wood is carefully hand chosen before being dried for up to one year before it is ready for further processing. As we moved up through the building we saw experienced cabinet makers hand crafting these pieces using old stencils and the original machinery because no new machines are of the required quality to replace them. The carpenters would spend hours working on every dovetail joint highlighting the craftsmen and women’s great pride in the quality control expected at every stage. We then got to see where the pieces are upholstered using only the best goat hides which takes longer to sew because it is so much thicker than a normal cow hide.

The experience was like stepping back in time to witness the most authentic and traditional methods of the original cabinet makers. Their prized values are thoroughness, professionalism and respect for the original design and this care and attention means that when you are buying a piece of Rud Rasmussen not only do you get an exceptionally crafted piece of furniture but you are also buying a piece of Danish design history.