Carsten Thor founded Thors Design in 2002, when he came into possession of the bulwark from Korsør's decommissioned harbour by pure chance. The wood had remained untouched for 4 years, as everyone considered it to be impossible to work with or even sell. The word ‘impossible’ convinced Carsten that he should prove everyone wrong. He took a break from his career as an automation technician, and began to experiment with the possibilities of the wood.
Alfa and Omega
It took Carsten over a year to develop a circular saw blade that could saw through the length of the robust azobé wood. The idea at this point, was to split the long pillars into 4 planks and then saw these into wooden tiles. It would take a year to saw all the wood. He expected to earn a million Danish kroner doing so, and then return to building lifts and windmills.
However, once he had seen the beautiful azobé planks, his business plan changed. Carsten developed the first bench, which he called Alfa, and shortly afterwards, the Omega picnic set followed. He made the first plank table in 2005 and this is now the company's primary product.
Room for patina
During the first few years, the weathered outer layer of the pillars was sawn off and discarded before using the remaining wood to make furniture. It wasn’t until 2008 that Carsten began to value the patina and historical details in the wood, and he started to emphasize these special unique features, that the weathered wood contained. This is when Thors Design, as we know it today, was formed. In 2010, the rustic look became popular and demand soared.
”The first years were hard. From 2003 to 2006, I was only able to generate 100.000 Danish kroner in wages for myself through the company. On 2 separate occasions, the electricity company came to cut off the supply. One Monday I thought to myself, that if this is how it was going to be, then it was unbearable. If it doesn’t improve by Friday, then I will give up and hand in the keys. On Wednesday, I received a good order for 8 Omega dining sets, and after that, orders began to come in regularly.”
/ Carsten Thor
Driven by common sense
It is not in Carsten Thor’s character to blindly follow the norms. He doesn’t simply accept how things are. In the same way, he found it hard to accept that a good resource should simply be thrown away. Neither did he accept that a production facility would have to be placed abroad to be viable. A solution would have to be found.
When Carsten started to look for a saw that could cut along the length of the wood, he heard that Møltrup farm were actually about to buy a large one. Carsten contacted them to see if they could saw the wood for him. In the end, they decided to buy a saw together. This became the start of a long and successful cooperation.
“I have an ambition to create furniture that can last for generations. These pieces can. With the right designs, tailor- made solutions and the possibility to adapt the pieces as needs change, we do what we can to ensure that they continue to do so.”
/ Carsten Thor
Durable and timeless design
Sustainability is not a term that was used in 2002. Despite this, with his choice of reclaimed wood and local production, Carsten had made a good start with the concept. In line with his sustainable approach, Carsten introduced several procedures in an aim to minimise waste and keep resources in circulation. Some designs were actually born because of the desire to use waste wood arising from the production of primary products. Leasing and take-back arrangements are now also possible.
It is especially the furniture’s durability that becomes an important focus for him. It was not just the quality of the furniture, where the materials and business partners were carefully chosen. There was also a strong focus on creating timeless furniture design, that could continue to be appropriate throughout the changing trends over time.
Invested in a place to be
In 2008, Thors Design purchased the old retired dairy building in Timring. In the beginning, the one side is used as a workshop, where the other half is used as a showroom. In 2013 the workshop was moved to a new location 200 meters down the road, which meant that the rest of the dairy building can also be used as a showroom.
The dairy buildings date back to 1891. The rustic and industrial style suits the furniture well, resulting in an inspiring showroom. Over the last few years, the showroom has been renovated with respect for the building’s original style. This has been done with the aim of creating a local cultural centre with different cultural events for the local community and other interested parties.
In 2022 the need to expand the workshop again resulted in the purchase of a larger warehouse building of over 900 square meteres. It is just a short drive from the old dairy. The building has been renovated and and changed to workshop space.