A Swedish company called Vaarnii wants to help usher in a new era of interior design: one dominated by the refreshing beauty of pine wood. Their collections of minimalist furniture and decorative objects is designed to endure for generations and eliminate unnecessary frills to put the focus on the wood itself. The result is a series of creations that are boldly simple and clearly durable.
“Pine is substantial, characterful, full of natural pattern and colour and, if grown correctly, it is strong. The Finnish vernacular style that inspires us is a direct product of this material: Pine was always the wood of choice for Finnish craftspeople because it was local, free and abundant; an embarrassment of riches. As a result, the making processes and design thinking that shaped our domestic lives is pine shaped and pine coloured; log houses, carved implements, rustic furniture. There is a primitiveness, a raw beauty, a reassuring strength, generosity of scale and warmth to this architecture and object culture that we want to return to and celebrate again.”
Scots pine is the most common tree growing Finland, making up about 44% of all forests. Vaarnii chooses slowly grown trees for carpentry and cabinetmaking, which are heavier and hardier, sustainably harvesting the trees during the coldest months of the year.
“Pine is full of natural oils and resins which, over time, react with UV light to bring a rich honey colour to the wood. This characterful mellowing is something, we believe, to look forward to. Cracks, knots and lively grains are all used to maximum decorative advantage. A black filler is used to fill naturally occurring cracks. Making these visible is true to our values of honest furniture making.”
Vaarnii’s pine products include a blocky dining chair; a stool with rounded legs; coffee, dining and side tables; a lounge chair with ergonomically rounded surfaces; and a series of accessories like mirrors, bowls, trays, wall hooks and doorstops. Each item has an impressive solidity and heft that elucidates its quality.
“The designs for the inaugural Vaarnii range celebrate all the natural qualities of pine: A wide and expressive grain means pine lends itself, structurally and aesthetically, to being used in large expanses. And so, our designs use pine generously: Swathes of solid wood make bold and heavy designs. Which is just as well, as the furniture is intended to serve generations.”