Cuba Cuts @ SE 2019

Danish designer creates unique design out of rare material

Necessity has been the catalyst for Danish designer Hans Sandgren Jakobsen to make his contribution to the Carpenters’ Autumn Exhibition. Focusing on the exhibition’s slogan, ‘Reduce, Reuse, Rethink’, the designer has let the material define his design, resulting in a unique approach to new Danish design.

This November, as the Carpenters’ Autumn Exhibition opens its doors to the best of Danish design and carpentry, Danish designer Hans Sandgren Jakobsen presents a unique set of bowls, which together form a total work of art. With his Cuba Cuts bowls he carves himself not only into the heart of the Danish design tradition of timeless classics, but also into contemporary time’s focus on the use of our resources.

The very core of the design stems from the Cuba mahogany tree trunk that Cuba Cuts were made from. The design is the result of how the trunk was best used. The bowls have been created almost without waste and are beautiful objects, lasting for generations, ”says Hans Sandgren Jakobsen.

Unique opportunity for exceptional design

One of the Carpenters’ Autumn Exhibition slogans is ’Rethink’ and this has been essential when developing the Cuba Cuts. For two years, Hans Sandgren Jakobsen has visually shaped his mahogany trunk until it could finally leave the corner of his design studio in order to find its final shape in the workshop.

“I’ve had to figure out how to get the utmost out of the material,” Hans Sandgren Jakobsen says. “It’s a unique opportunity, because I’ll never get a similar trunk in my hands,” he says.

For nearly 80 years, Cuba mahogany has been protected by an export ban from Cuba. This makes the highly coveted type of wood difficult to buy because only few old mahogany trunks exist within the borders of the country. Therefore, the Danish designer has approached the trunk well aware that he had only one chance with this unique mahogany trunk to create Cuba Cuts.

I have made the Cuba Cuts with great respect for the material they are made from. The wood has been stored at various carpenters’ for about 100 years. According to the tree rings, the trunk was approx. 125 years when it was felled. This makes it possible for the design to be displayed and inherited through generations”, he says.

24 pieces of sustainability

In the exhibition Hans Sandgren Jacobsen shows a total of the 24 bowls that the Cuban mahogany trunk has been carved from. All the bowls have unique interior carvings, and due to the raw ax cuts on the outside, no bowls are alike.

“The bowls are compatible because they can be assembled and thereby recreate the trunk,” says Hans Sandgren Jakobsen. This is possible because the designer and the manufacturer have preserved as much wood as possible and allowed only a few millimetres to go to waste between the bowls.

“The Cuba Cuts is a design approach in which no material is wasted, making it more gratifying,” Hans Sandgren Jakobsen continues.

He sees Cuba Cuts as classic examples of Danish design, created with simplicity and durability in mind.

As Danish designers, we are raised from early childhood to ensure that our designs are durable and sustainable,” he says.

Shaped by the past

Therefore, it was a big task he took on when buying the Cuba trunk. Before being placed in his design studio in Grenaa, the trunk has been moved several times. None of the former Danish owners have found the courage to shape and carve the trunk.

How do you approach such a trunk? The trunk in itself is beautiful. It is marked by wind and weather, and back in its time it was cut with a hand ax like a true Viking trunk. I have preserved that, ”says Hans Sandgren Jakobsen.

The raw ax cuts of the trunk can be seen as a reference to a small part of the history of industrialization. By hand, the forest worker cut the trunk into a square form using an ax. The purpose of this was to make it easier to transport, process, store, and transport it. The deep ax cuts seen on the Cuba Cuts exteriors, are a window into the past, before modern methods made it possible to cut large trunks.

Cuba Cuts is also part of Hans Sandgren Jakobsen’s own story. The ”Inventarsnedkeriet A/S”, the manufacturer of Cuba Cuts, is the location of his original apprenticeship. Therefore, they were a natural choice for the collaboration and they have been in charge of milling, sanding and lacquering the Cuba Cuts.

After the exhibition, running until May 2020, it is possible to buy the Cuba Cut bowls either as a complete work or as individual bowls.


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