Portrayal of Wood
A deep love of wood drives cabinetmaker Laura Bergsøe’s exploration of the intrinsic power and personality of this natural material. With the exhibition ‘Portrayal of Wood’, Garde Hvalsøe invites you to explore Laura Bergsøe’s celebration of wood, materials and life itself.
‘It is always surprising and magical to open up a tree or plane a dirty plank and discover what lies inside. Grain and knots, twists and ripple marks in the wood help me draw a humble reference to the authenticity of wood.’
Laura Bergsøe trained as a cabinetmaker at the esteemed cabinetmaking firm Rud Rasmussen, and this was where she first found herself fully immersed in the magical world of wood: in the timber yard of Rud Rasmussen’s workshop in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district.
‘It was like entering an absolutely stunning, hidden world of wood. I found the most beautiful types of wood with amazing fragrances, and I was spellbound from the moment I set foot in there,’ Laura recalls.
This experience was the beginning of her journey to explore and tell the story of the individual tree. And no tree is too unusual for Laura Bergsøe. On the contrary, any tree with an interesting shape and history contains the potential for a new work of art, ranging from a walnut tree from Grenoble or a six-thousand-year-old bog oak to a tall, dignified yew or a crooked old pear tree.
‘It is always surprising and magical to open up a tree or plane a dirty plank and discover what lies inside. Grain and knots, twists and ripple marks in the wood help me draw a humble reference to the authenticity of wood,’ she explains.
The principal focus in Laura Bergsøe’s work is the wood, not the construction. Relying mainly on her intuition, she uses the surface of the timber as an unfinished canvas when she creates a new work of art. The process of examining and researching the materials is just as important as craft methods and techniques. The key is to understand the origin of the wood – where it comes from and how it developed. Based on this approach, her works often contain references to times, places and thoughts – including her clients’ personal stories, which are subtly embedded in the wood, like a hidden treasure map.
‘Portrayal of Wood’ by Laura Bergsøe
27 October – 29 January 2024
‘I often incorporate layers of stories in my works that are visible to those who are in the know. To outsiders, they appear simply as unique and beautiful features,’ she says. ‘My main purpose is to explore the personality of the wood.’
Laura Bergsøe’s works are distinguished by her characteristic use of silver, bronze, gemstones, mammoth tusk, iron meteorite – and whatever else makes sense in the given project.
‘I love using silver in my pieces. It lets me capture a sense of a moment in time – the instant when the silver solidifies as it flows over the edge of the table, or the (silver) indentation of a stone thrown into the water, the moment preserved by the ripples of the wood grain,’ she adds.
These added materials can be interpreted as representations of life events, while the grain of the wood represents the winding path of life. For more than ten years, Laura Bergsøe has maintained a close collaboration with silversmith Jesper Nordø. She creates the initial design of the silver elements, and Jesper Nordø assists with fitting, hammering and finishing the elements in a partnership where two different craft traditions meet in harmonious unity.
‘The most exciting and difficult challenge lies in striking the right balance in deciding which “flaws” to accentuate – reading the personality of the wood and deciding how to integrate precious metals and stones in a way that highlights the wood and leaves no doubt that it always plays the lead,’ says Laura.
All Laura Bergsøe’s tables include a signature silver spike placed in the side of the piece. An engraving on the spike documents the materials used and the origin of the wood. If the future owner wishes, they can add a short, personal text – a story to be passed on to the next generation. With this, Laura keeps the tree’s story alive.
Garde Hvalsøe showroom
Esplanaden 8D, ground floor
1263 Copenhagen K.