A wordless language
In a very real sense, a master cabinet maker thinks and talks with their hands, gaining an ever deeper understanding of their mysterious wooden medium which is only possible after years of accumulated muscle memory, through hard earned trial and error.
When the discussion is finally joined, wood and cabinet maker speak a wordless language — wood sits on the table immediately opening the conversation with its unmistakable strength, warmth and durability, while the carpenter responds and redirects with deft movements of the hand that secure and enhance these qualities on into the finished product. Like in all great collaborative conversations, the wood leaves its mark on the cabinet maker and the cabinet maker leaves their mark on the wood.
An endless conversation
The end result: furniture that reflects a balanced and functional form, with a strong structure built on skilfully crafted joints that reinforce the whole, as well as show a profound respect for the material and medium of the particular wood that was used. The finished table or chair is not the end of the conversation, however, as every piece of wood, and the finished object that it comes to represent, continues to push the cabinet maker to create new practices, or update old ones, to overcome endless new challenges and visions. The conversation of carpentry and craftsmanship never ends.
The finished table or chair is not the end of the conversation, however, as every piece of wood, and the finished object that it comes to represent, continues to push the cabinet maker to create new practices, or update old ones, to overcome endless new challenges and visions.
When Kari Virtanen, founder of Nikari, started to learn this woodworking language in mid-20th century Finland, objects were always created to meet a clear and straightforward purpose. Despite the emphasis on functionality, it was also well understood that truly useful things could not be created in a hurry — careful craftsmanship would not only lead to objects that performed their intended function, but would also lead to beautiful objects, both in terms of form and a lasting durability.
At their best, the objects in our home not only fulfill a function, but also go some way beyond this functional purpose — they allow for a kind of meaning and relationship that only comes with years of use and familiarity. It is no exaggeration to call wooden furniture a lifelong partner. They may not be very talkative, but, if you learn to listen, you will start to hear the quiet beauty and wisdom of the forest in which they grew for decades, as well as the uncompromising voice of its joiner, the master cabinet maker and their hands.