Unless you’ve been living in a cave lately, you’ll probably have noticed that distressed wood (or weathered wood) is making a major comeback in the home décor line.
Perhaps you have a friend that picked up an antique, or visited a café or coffee shop that had a couple signature pieces of distressed wood art. Or sat at a coffee table made from reclaimed barn wood. In any case, whether in décor or in furniture, distressed wood (which can include upcycled wood) is becoming a beautiful trend that’s here to stay for awhile.
So what is it exactly? In a nutshell, it’s wood that has a preserved, aged look. This can be done as naturally as possible, by applying a preserving finish or varnish to an already genuinely aged look, or the process can be artificially sped up by bleaching or sandblasting. Pankesum does a mixture of both, because quite simply, it’s incredibly difficult to find that perfectly aged piece of wood, and so the artisans we use go through great lengths to minimize this process as much as possible. Even genuinely upcycled old wood must be treated, especially if infested with termites or woodworms (although both leave marks and holes that many find appealing). The wood is cut, then usually lightly bleached (to ensure a uniform look), and sun dried for several days, and then rapidly assembled into the final products.
Pankesum works with several experts at working with or making distressed wood, in particular for our RoRo wooden home furnishings line. One particular maker, Mr. Weera, runs a small workshop with his wife near the southern part of the Thai province of Chiang Mai. Weera started his craft many years ago, where he worked as an intermediary wood-worker. Other artisans would approach him, and ask him for partially processed wood in order to make their products. Slowly more and more artists began doing minimal changes to his work, preferring to keep the natural patina his work has. Eventually Weera began creating his own works, both from genuinely discarded pieces and a few custom pieces for high end resorts and for homes. Today, he runs a small, but thriving and respected workshop that supplies dozens of hotels in Southern Thailand and a few back here in the states. He creates everything from small bedside décor pieces, to headboards to lobby centerpieces that can stretch over 10 feet high.
Weera’s signature wagon wheel tealight holder. Notice the grooves for the spokes and the absolute minimalist iron additions. This one has a rounded stand, but RoRo’s are rectangular, with a soft padding underneath.
One of his most exciting pieces is the wagon wheel candle-light holder. It’s made form a genuine ox-cart wheel, and with minimal finish, the entire piece is preserved, worm-holes and all.
To complete this masterpiece, Weera adds four minimalist tealight / candle holders and places the item on a stand. Pankesum specially ordered this piece to include a soft, velvety underside to our stand, to ensure that we reduce as much as possible, the chance of you scratching whatever surface you place it on.
Some of the works are beautiful as is. RoRo’s version includes a soft adjustable halogen light on the underside, allowing you to play with the shadows and lighting to truly create a worthy centerpiece.
Another signature piece is the oddly beautiful trunk lamp. It’s an actual stump, hollowed out naturally, elevated onto a platform, and lit from the inside by a light. This is one of those pieces that will work upon an end table in a living room and is guaranteed to be a conversation starter.
Someone once asked, “Why on Earth would you want this stuff. It looks like driftwood?”
A RoRo artisan merely replied, “Do you like it?”
“Well yes, it’s actually quite handsome”
“Well then, you should get it.”
For more: pankesum.com