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Behind the scenes at ARCHITECTMADE

March 6, 2014
that nordic feeling visits Architectmade

OWL by Architectmade via that nordic feeling
Last week I visited ARCHITECTMADE’s small woodturning workshop. ARCHITECTMADE invited me in behind the normally closed doors to see, how their famous Bird by Kristian Vedel (check this post to see Bird) and the newly relaunched Owl by Paul Anker Hansen are made – and I got to meet the designer behind the OWL himself, Paul Anker who is close to 90 years old today. Such a fun day!

that nordic feeling visits Architectmade

Turning wood by hand is a forgotten craft. There are only a few of these workshops left in Denmark who still make wood figures by hand (with help from machines). ARCHITECTMADE works with one of them to keep the old traditions alive and to be able to actually make Danish design in Denmark. If you are a regular reader, you know that I value this quality highly.

that nordic feeling visits Architectmade

It is not all of ARCHITECTMADE’s products that are made in Denmark as woodturners are hard to come by in Denmark today. Such a shame really when you think about how this craft is one of the cornerstones in iconic Danish design from the mid-century. But this particularly workshop produces the Bird by Kristian Vedel and the Owl by Paul Anker Hansen.

that nordic feeling visits Architectmade

Owl was recently relaunched by ARCHITECTMADE. It was designed by Paul Anker Hansen back in 1960. Paul Anker Hansen is in his 80’s today, but a man full of life and with a spark in his eyes. I got to sit down with him last week and talk about how the Owl came to life.
that nordic feeling visits ARCHITECTMADE
Let’s start by turning back time. Paul is a veterinarian, who loves animals. The Owl in particular was a big fascination of his. He grew up on the idyllic island of Bornholm on a farm next to a big plantation. He and his three brothers spent their childhood playing in the woods, getting to know all the birds, owls and squirrels that lived there.

For years he was thinking about making an owl, but he couldn’t work out the details:

“One Sunday morning in 1960 I woke up bright and early with a clear image of the Owl in my head. The night before we had entertained guests and I got to bed late with a lot of coffee in my blood. That morning, I had finally solved the puzzle of the owl, that had been on my mind for years,” says Paul Anker Hansen.

So he wet out to his lathe and started creating. By noon he had a rough model.

“I brought it inside and showed it to my wife. She was not impressed at first. But I kept working on it and by dinner time, she could see what I was on to.”

Paul Anker via that nordic feeling

An old newspaper clipping. Am I the only one who thinks Paul was a handsome young man back in the day?

The Owl was put into production and was produced until the producer went bankrupt in 1977. After this, Paul Anker Hansen made the owls by hand as gifts to friends and family. He keeps this up for years. His children and friends encouraged him to find a new producer so the owl wouldn’t be forgotten – and that is how he met ARCHITECTMADE.

Originally the Owl was made in teak wood, but both Paul and ARCHITECTMADE wanted to make it in Danish wood. Today the Owl is made in oak with eyes of wenge wood. The head and the body is attached with a magnet, so that the Owl can tilt its head to create various looks. It is sold throughout the world and you can find a retailer right here.
OWL by Architectmade via that nordic feeling
I want to say thank you to ARCHITECTMADE for inviting me in and showing me what goes on behind the scenes. I had such a great day and I loved meeting Paul Anker Hansen. I hope you, my dear reader, have enjoyed a tour behind the scenes too.

OWL by Architectmade via that nordic feeling

Paul was kind enough to sign my Owl.

OWL by Architectmade via that nordic feeling

© that nordic feeling

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11 Comments

  • Reply Høytrykk March 6, 2014 at 15:26

    Så gøy å få besøke fabrikken! Det må ha vært litt av en opplevelse. Du er heldig!

    Ha en fortsatt fin dag, Rikke. :)

    • Rikke
      Reply Rikke March 6, 2014 at 20:53

      Ja, det var så sjovt! Også at møde søde Paul Anker og få lov til at interviewe ham :)

      Rigtig god aften til dig også, søde Trine :)

  • Reply Flor | Nordic Days March 6, 2014 at 18:17

    Great article, I loved it :)

    • Rikke
      Reply Rikke March 6, 2014 at 20:52

      Thank you Flor – I am happy to hear that :)

  • Reply Karlijn March 6, 2014 at 20:50

    Woaa, so nice that you have seen the process of making them. I really loves the bird and the owl. I’m saving money for it and i hope i can buy it when i’m in Denmark in april :) I’m going to Copenhague and maybe a stupid question, but do you have recommodations? Shops that i really have to visit?
    And i’ve bought the lamp by Ikea, thanks for the info. Have a nice evening!

    • Rikke
      Reply Rikke March 6, 2014 at 20:55

      Yes, it was such a fun day seeing the workshop and meeting Paul Anker :)

      Make sure to stop by Hay House, Illums Bolighus, Stilleben, Magasin, Normann Copenhagen flagship store and Designdelicatessen. That’s some of my favourite shops :) Have a great trip!

      • Reply Karlijn March 9, 2014 at 19:39

        Thank you so much! I’m counting the days til my flight :)

  • Reply Easter give away | that nordic feeling April 2, 2014 at 08:01

    […] Btw I recently visited ARCHITECTMADE’s woodturning workshop and met the designer behind one of the other wooden animals. If you want to see how the animals are made, do take a look at the post right here. […]

  • Reply Hunter Smith September 26, 2015 at 01:12

    Hello, wanted to know if you have any idea of the value of these birds?——found a large and a small original 60’s——great little things, great solid work, pleasure to handle

    • Rikke
      Reply Rikke September 27, 2015 at 18:09

      Sorry, I have no idea.

      • Reply Hunter Smith September 27, 2015 at 21:52

        no problem—they aren’t going anywhere—–kinda growing on me

        the teak grain is great, and they make me laugh !

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