A legend in Danish woodworking has left us.
Cabinetmaker Henry Fisker was born February 21, 1928 in Vejen, Denmark, and in his childhood he got a close friend in the neighbor’s 5 year older boy Ejnar Pedersen. Henry was trained cabinetmaker from Schou Andersen in Vejen and then moved to Allerød, north of Copenhagen, to work with Ejnar and Ejnar’s big brother Lars Peder Pedersen. They first worked at Knud Willadsen’s workshop at Gl. Lyngevej, where Henry and the two brothers were a major driving force. But when Knud’s workshop burned down and had to close, Ejnar and Lars Peder founded PP Møbler on the corner of Toftevej and Vestvej. Shortly after the new small workshop was completed, Henry was recruited and developed a unique lifework by thoroughly and stubbornly building a craft culture with an uncompromising attitude to quality and a relentless appetite to solve all kinds of craft challenges – including those apparently impossible.
Wood was the fascination for Henry, and he meticulously analyzed the properties of each type of wood in order to obtain the optimal utilization of their qualities and adapt his machine layouts to perfect the processing of each item. Understanding wood and how it behaves when working with it was the objective, and for Henry, machinery was the tool, and he worked intensely and ambitiously to find the best technical solution to a craft challenge. His work was very tangible, but the ideas behind was always innovative and imaginative, and when he worked with the most difficult tasks, Henry often wished he could get around the laws of gravity.
Henry has made a great number of prototypes and productions of furniture designed by designers, artists and architects such as Poul Kjærholm, Finn Juhl, Gunnar Aagaard Andersen, Nanna Ditzel, Ole Gjerløv Knudsen and many others, but most of his work has been focused on development and production of furniture designed by Hans J. Wegner, with whom Henry enjoyed a lifelong friendship. Wegner and Henry had a deep mutual understanding of the craft and a common fascination of wood both as an element of nature and as a material for the craftsman.
Henry, or Fisker as he was called, worked at PP Møbler continuously for more than 50 years and in 2004 he received the Queen’s honorary medal for faithful service. Henry was stubborn and always told his opinion straight, also to the management, and he generously shared his knowledge. He has been a key driving force in building the exceptional quality for which PP Møbler has become world-renowned, and he stands as a brilliant representative of the very spirit of the workshop.
Despite his immense experience, however, he never stopped learning, and he continued to allow himself new insight; as he said: “I’ll never be done with wood. Being a skilled woodworker is a lifelong education”.
Henry Fisker died at the age of 91.