The Story Behind Skateboard-inspired Furniture Label Willows World

The Story Behind Skateboard-inspired Furniture Label Willows World photo 0

They call him the German Hammer King. Thats because Christoph Willow Wildgrube has actually made a name for himself in specialist skate boarding by going down hammers or high-impact stunts down the burliest barriers from a young age onward.

As a teen, Willow raised bench at a few of the most notorious skate places in the German funding (view his fabulous part in 2004s ANZEIGE Berlin video). He swiftly progressed from novice to worldwide family name backed by A-list enrollers, including the unusual honor of gaining a pro version on US-company Almost Skateboards; started by skateboard wunderkind Rodney Mullen.

The Hammer King, ready to place it down in Willows World apparel. Picture by Stephan Hauptmann.

However over the last few years, the German Hammer King has also grabbed an actual hammer plus some professional-grade power devices to do some hammering away from his skateboard.

In the calmness of his workshop, the 35-year-old has actually developed a special mix of modern-day furnishings offered under the Willows Globe tag. Dramatic combinations of wood as well as metal with sleek finishes, his tables as well as benches include recycled skateboard decks in a trademark style thats a breath of fresh air in custom furniture design. As word continues to spread amongst style enthusiasts, Willow has his hands full staying on par with pre-orders, and also has already landed jobs producing customized orders for clients such as BMW and Porsche.

For the inside scoop, ILLUMINATED PAPER publication caught up with Christoph inside his timber workshop in the town of Erftstadt near Cologne, where he lives with his spouse Nicole and 2 boys. Invite to Willows World.

Layers of style: Willows World branded tables featuring upcycled skateboard timber.

Willow, you have been putting the hammer down on furniture layouts lately. Do you have any kind of specialist training in working with timber and metal?

When I was 16 and also had actually simply finished from school, I made a decision to start a professional training as a carpenter. But they had me functioning primarily on dry wall surface as opposed to wood, raising walls and also taking windows. Plus, I needed to be at the building website at 5:30 a.m. in the middle of winter season. So, after six weeks I quit appearing, got into confrontations with the wrong individuals as well as wound up getting tinned. That was my carpenter career, initially (laughs).

Right around the moment you started making a name for yourself in skateboarding, so you were most likely not too worried?

Yes, I got involved in expert skateboarding quite at an early stage. Yet I also made sure to earn my technical diploma in Economics on the side, simply to have a full education and learning. Still, those were my early starts in carpentry. Then, when I broke my foot in 2013, I suddenly discovered myself asking: What am I mosting likely to perform with all my time? I cant skate, Im absolutely going up the wall surfaces! Obviously, I had my two children but I seriously required some type of stability in my life.

Thats when Nicole revealed me a chair with a great design she had located online for our terrace. I determined to try recreating that chair style myself, merely utilizing a slit saw and basic tools. Just attempting to mimic the style without including any specialist furniture joints or the like. It was truly much more concerning myself and also the wood becoming accustomed with each other as well as getting a sensation for the entire point. Actually placing in blood, sweat, as well as splits. When the chair was ended up, I published it on Instagram as well as individuals assumed it was really great. That opened the door for me. I recognized I wanted to do something with woodworking again.

Sight from the workshop: Including diamond-shaped top-sheets from utilized skateboards into table leading layouts.

Just how did points proceed from there?

Whenever I got hurt skate boarding, I would certainly hit up our neighborhood timber supply shop for products for my styles. It had a carpenter workshop attached, and also the master craftsman and his senior would certainly educate me the ropes. I constantly brought in my most recent furnishings pieces and also asked exactly how they liked them and also what I can do far better. They virtually ended up training me.

It was actually a lot more about myself and the timber becoming acquainted with each other as well as getting a sensation for the whole thing. Really placing in blood, sweat, and also splits.


Knowing directly from others with more experience seems a lot like kung fu or skate boarding. Also sounds like they actually fancied you?

Absolutely. They stated: We believe your furniture layouts are truly killer! Keep going and well aid you! They walked me through exactly how all the procedures and also strategies in furnishings design really work. All the different kinds of joints like lamellos, dominoes as well as how to establish all of it properly in a specialist means. That proceeded till they folded the workshop, so I went and also leased my own room.

Thats a DIY-approach we see a whole lot when skateboarders apply themselves to various other things, right?

It was totally do-it-yourself. I finagled my method through the side door (laughs). Yet I had the best education and learning, due to the fact that these 2 master carpenters were hyper-critical and put high demands on my job. We had a link because among them, Klaus was his name, was additionally right into crazy furnishings layouts. Stuff like three-dimensional hexagons that revolved on their very own axis. However nobody got them since they were as well way out.

The Story Behind Skateboard-inspired Furniture Label Willows World photo 0

Upright VS. Horizontal: Close-up of individual layers in table layout.

Did having your very own workshop aid locating your very own trademark design?

Most definitely, and my father-in-law informed me that I had a lot of used skateboards around, given that I always horded everything, why not do something with them? He claimed: Skateboarding is your calling card. Go ahead and integrate skateboards into your furniture makes! That seemed great, but I had no suggestion whatsoever how to go about it.

One of my good friends was creating image structures from used skateboards. Someday I watched him peel apart all the layers of a skateboard deck which when I uncovered all the different shades inside the laminated wood. I understood I needed these shades in my furnishings as well as began explore slicing the decks.

Exactly how can we visualize the slicing method?

In the first step, I sand off all the graphics as well as lacquer surface. After that I take off the nose and also tail prior to fileting the boards right into millimeter red stripes. The thinner, the much better due to the fact that the boards still have a concave curvature to them. When they are cut very finely, you can include stress to correct them into panels in other types of wood, like oak or birch. I additionally make tables crafted entirely from skateboards, yet its practically excessive since you need 100 boards to get one square meter of surface area. The majority of my tables feature a wood surface layered with skateboard sheets, framed by wood liner according to the customers selecting.

That sounds like a lot of prep job to obtain the skateboard layers ideal, a lot of deal with power tools

Yes, and four years ago I wound up reducing my finger pretty terribly with the jig saw. Right prior to an exhibition of my wall art I needed to construct all the structures under time stress. I slid and also reached right into the saw blade yet they had the ability to reattach whatever at the health center. It wasnt that crazy but still fairly a shock. Due to the fact that when youre working with a goal making 30 picture frames at the very same time, you forget to have respect for the power tools. But since then, the respect has certainly been back (laughs).

Paid the rate to roll the dice: Willow post-jig saw injury in 2015. Picture by @willowsworld

It was totally diy. I operated my way in via the side door.


Youve paid your charges! But your laminated timber strips from skateboard decks really add a distinguished impact. At what point did you choose to make that style your trademark?

When you add these strips to, allows state, a top sheet of oak wood thats otherwise left pretty plain, it produces a nice accent. So when I saw that, it was on for me! I couldnt stop. It resembled skate boarding. Whenever I finished a bench or a stool it resembled landing a nollie tre flip down 13 stairways. I really felt specifically the very same euphoria looking at the ended up item. I couldnt rest at night because the ecstasy was keeping me awake. Furnishings layout has actually become an addiction, similar to skate boarding.

What was your procedure for fine-tuning your design and also brightening up the surfaces as well as surfaces?

You always advance from one job to the following. When I recall at several of the things I made three years earlier, I often wonder: What was I thinking? (laughs) You enhance with time, much like you advance in skateboarding.

Geometric forms inspired the layout of Willows World hexagonal tables.

Your work includes extremely solid geometric lines and patterns. Where do you locate ideas for new layouts?

There is a musicians neighborhood called Worpswede outside the town of Bremen that I truly like for its Art Nouveau style. Ive been there a couple of times currently as well as the exterior and interior style made a long-term effect. Thats where the honeycomb-like tables came from, for example, together with great deals of various other impacts from the outdoors. There are numerous hashtags on Instagram like #furnituredesign or #upcycling with lots of concepts. However I also had to find out that less is more.

In just how much?

I would build one of the most elaborate tables including the most intricate patterns where I would invest 18 hours on a single table. After that I simply made an all-natural table with oak tree top and untreated, plain edge with simply three red stripes from skateboards. And that one marketed quicker than the more complex pieces. Theres most definitely a way to exaggerate it! (laughs) The straightforward things are commonly one of the most attractive ones, particularly if you are mosting likely to spend time with your furniture over the years.

Less is much more: Refined use of skateboard slices in natural timber tabletop.

The Story Behind Skateboard-inspired Furniture Label Willows World photo 2

Also a lot of a good point

Yes, way too much insane style. (laughs) I also discovered that if you wish to develop furniture to last you a life time, horizontal red stripes look much better than angled red stripes. Nicole would certainly likewise tell me that the surfaces promote themselves and I shouldnt include way too many layers and patterns. Several of my designs were as well advanced, also USS Business. The legendary furniture developers like the Eames siblings were everything about easy, downplayed designs which have actually because appreciated in value. Once a month I need to look at my classic furnishings coffee table books to obtain myself back to truth.

Furnishings design has ended up being a dependency, just like skateboarding.


Since you have locked down your design, what sorts of items are you offering?

There are origami wall art piecesand Willows World garments like shirts and also beanies. Additionally side tables with metal frames, benches with pin legs, as well as large composing workdesks that likewise integrate timber and steel.

Is there an ideology behind this selection of materials?

For me its a blend of cold and hot. Wood is cozy, it develops a cozy sensation. And iron produces a cold feeling and incorporating the two develops points of elegance.

Browse a selection of Willows World creates

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Where can individuals purchase your products?

My site is Willows Globe where people can see all my items. I would have truthfully never ever anticipated for it to advance similar to this. I began the whole point totally for myself, along with my spouse Nicole as well as for brightening up our family members residence. Currently Ive currently done commissioned help special clients such as Porsche and BMW for seating elements including candy striped accents. Yet thats still the exception.

In general, contemporary furniture layout is actually having a minute now with lots of mail order web sites dealing with that design. However, a great deal of it is mass-market variations on the same blueprints, whereas your work attracts attention as custom-made items. Who are individuals you design for?

The people I design for really see that its something special that they cant get anywhere else. They can see that its hand-made. All the layers are implemented by hand and its tough to define just how much work enters into making one of these tables. Peoples feedbacks are really intense when they see their completed pieces which makes me truly delighted and inspires me to keep going.

I wound up cutting my finger rather badly with the jig saw.When youre working with a mission making 30 image structures at the exact same time, you fail to remember to have regard for the power devices. But ever since, the respect has actually absolutely been back!

On that note, what is your process for working with your customers?

Im always truly near to my clients. As the first step, we meet in person as well as discuss what they want, which you angle truly do over the internet. You really require to get to know the individual you are constructing furniture for, what sort of character they are. Im not just incorporating arbitrary strips of boards I have floating around the workshop, but truly understand the individual when it concerns choosing colors that help them. Nevertheless, the furniture lasts for a life time.

Consistent advancement: Among the current pieces from Willows workshop.

As the last concern, what type of hammers will you be going down following in skate boarding?

I just influenced the etnies album video and also in September a repair for OWN skateboards will be going down at the renewed European Skateboard Championships in Basel. OWN is based in Stuttgart and they produce all their boards in their very own woodshop, and I really like the philosophy.

Cant wait to see the repair. Thank you for the meeting, Willow!

Follow Willow on Instagram.

Explore furnishings styles, art work, and also garments on the main Willows World website.

Opening up picture byStephan Hauptmann.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not call furniture style a second act in Willows career right now, as the prize-winning cyclist still stifles for enrollers including etnies shoes, OWN skateboards, SkateDeluxe, position socks, and also Forvert. The Hammer King just went down a heavy-hitting part in the etnies album video clip (watch Willows outtakes listed below) and also has a few irons in the fire for later on this year.

Random Truth

The caption of this story is motivated by Werner Herzogs 1974 sporting activities docudrama The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner. It follows world-class ski jumper Walter Steiner, that won a silver medal in the 1972 Winter months Olympics and easily broke every ski jumping record in his prime but favored to function as a woodworker in the quietude of his workshop. You ought to truly view it.

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