This piece was originally written for the launch of the Carl Hansen & Søn x Hiut Denim launch and features on carlhansen.com.
What happens when ‘Grand Masters’ of denim meet the master craftsmanship of Carl Hansen & Søn? Discover a new collaboration: an exciting meeting of minds and the reimagining of iconic Danish Modern in the world-famous fabric by Welsh manufacturers Hiut Denim.
Known as ‘The Grand Masters’ thanks to their decades of jeans-making experience (some with over 40 years) the Hiut Denim makers are indeed masters of their craft, sharing the same attention to detail and respect for the intricacies of their methods as Carl Hansen & Søn’s expert furniture craftsmen.
“Hiut Denim’s motto of ‘Do one thing well,’ mirrors the philosophy at the root of the Carl Hansen & Søn DNA,” explains CEO Knud Erik Hansen. “Our family company has specialised in furniture craftsmanship for over 100 years. We are passionately devoted to what we do and seek out collaborators who share our work ethic and design credo – but who can also bring new aesthetics, ideas and skill sets to our process.”
Carl Hansen & Søn seeks to collaborate with companies who can bring a new perspective to its iconic collections and reimagine timeless pieces with a contemporary outlook. The Carl Hansen & Søn designers were, and are, forward-thinking for their time – often pushing the boundaries of traditional furniture design and craftsmanship. It stands to reason then that the perfect match for a new collaboration would be the ‘father of Danish Modern’ Kaare Klint. Klint was one of furniture design’s reformers; a functionalist who valued purpose and form above all else, and a keen observer of human needs. His iconic Propeller Stool (1930) and Safari Chair and Footstool (1933) are examples of his ‘human furniture’ – created based on the meticulous study of the human body and its interactions. These two pieces are the focus of the Hiut Denim collaboration – showing their versatility and ability to fit into modern life over eighty years after they were first designed, upholstered for a contemporary audience in one of the world’s most recognisable and beloved fabrics.
Aside from pride and excellence in the finest furniture craftsmanship, the Carl Hansen & Søn philosophy centres on the storytelling behind each piece of furniture. The simple statement ‘Every piece comes with a story’ is the core of the brand’s DNA, with the stories of designers, craftsmen and the future of its furniture intricately woven into everything the company does. The Hiut Denim Company motto ‘Every pair tells a story’ is serendipitous in its connection to Carl Hansen & Søn’s own values and reflects a similar approach to the unique attachment people have with both their furniture and their denim, each personalised with a patina of their own lives and stories.
Hiut Denim has its own, personal story. The company’s ‘Grand Masters’ had previously worked in one denim factory in the small town of Cardigan in West Wales, producing thousands of pairs of jeans a week. The factory closed in 2002 and with it, the team’s jobs were lost. David and Clare Hieatt discovered the story of the denim masters and, realising that the precious skill and knowhow remained, sought to re-establish denim manufacturing in Cardigan and breathe new life into the town. Hiut Denim was born. It is this personal, family-oriented story, as well as the dedication to a unique craftsmanship, that sit at the heart both brands and make this an unexpected yet perfectly-matched collaboration.
When it comes to the techniques and materials used for each craft, once again Hiut Denim share the passion and enthusiasm for the highest quality and respect for tradition that Carl Hansen & Søn represents. The two companies share a desire to produce as sustainably as possible: Kaare Klint’s furniture is produced using wood from sustainable forests, while Hiut Denim uses only raw denim, removing the washing process and thereby reducing environmental impact.
The denim used for the new Propeller Stool and Safari Chair and Footstool is the finest selvedge denim made on vintage looms, hand-cut and sewed, ready for upholstering. Using the same denim, the Hiut Grand Masters make around 100 pairs of their famous jeans a week. The disciplines may be diverse, but the approach is the same:
“We believe in putting the best materials in the hands of the most highly skilled craftspeople to create the best possible product,” says David Hieatt. “What’s been particularly fulfilling about this collaboration is that we all speak the same language. Carl Hansen & Søn’s products, like Hiut Denim’s, are rooted in tradition, longevity, craftsmanship – and, of course, people’s stories. Now, through Kaare Klint’s classics, we are writing a new chapter for new audiences and sharing a new perspective.”
Clad in the finest Hiut denim, the two Kaare Klint pieces are shown in a new light, reflecting contemporary trends while respecting the roots and tradition of Carl Hansen & Søn manufacturing and the forward-thinking outlook of Mr Klint.
“We hope that Kaare Klint would have enjoyed seeing his designs dressed in what has become the world’s most universally beloved, and perhaps most democratic, fabric,” says Clare Hieatt. “It’s an honour for us to work with such iconic designs, which have so beautifully stood the test of time.”