The Romanian Pavilion at ICFF 2023 was a trove of innovative forms, handcrafted details, and rich, warm woods. The reigning choice of material comes as no surprise: “Romania is ranked second in Europe in the areas of virgin and quasi-virgin forests,” explains one of the brands to join ICFF this year, Carel Woodworks. The Carpathian Mountains, in the country’s northwest, are home to much of the continent’s remaining old growth forests, one of which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Romanian forests also contain some of the richest biodiversity and highest conservation values within Europe—Romania was the earliest European countries to sign the Kyoto Protocol on protection against climate change, solidifying their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
See a few of the brands who joined ICFF 2023 to share how they are putting a contemporary twist on their cultural tradition of craftsmanship and deeply rooted connection to woodworking, using locally- and ethically-sourced woods from the region to promote responsible—and beautiful—Romanian design.
Carel Woodworks designs and produces solid wood furnishings that blend the latest in technology with generations-old furniture making techniques. Inspired by traditional Romanian craftsmanship and carpentry, they seek to highlight the skills and expertise of the area and use only the highest quality materials to create heirloom pieces.
“Everything we create and do draws inspiration from three essential sources: the soulful elegance and gentleness of modernist painters, the simplicity and balanced symmetry of mid-century modernist architecture, and the philosophical and practical beauty of traditional Transylvanian woodcraft. We are constantly inspired by the aesthetic history of our world, its emotions and depth, and the exuberant blend of these with contemporary creativity from Eastern Europe is how we keep up with dynamic times”
Mozea designs and crafts unique, timeless furniture for contemporary residences. They are based in the heart of Romania’s Transylvanian region in Sibiu, a city renowned for its rich cultural history and craftsmanship. The villages around Sibiu keep their artistic heritage alive thanks to local masters working with wood, leather, glass, metal, and ceramics.
“We believe that natural materials such as wood, stone, metal, and leather have intrinsic value that we wish to preserve into aesthetic and ergonomic objects,” the brand shares of their ethos. At ICFF they exhibited pieces that highlight the organic nature of wood while refining it for sleek, modern interiors, capturing movement and flow in their sculptural tables and chairs.
Caro Jibou is the European factory of PR Living, a third-generation family-owned furniture company with production facilities on three continents.
The Romanian factory showcased pieces it produces for both PR Living and Muundo, a brand that designs tables inspired by the tactility of textures found in nature. The softly rounded forms they create reflect the organic and imperfect qualities of natural living things. The effect is achieved through the use of Mortex, a composition of minerals, lime, and mortar that is easily malleable, waterproof, heat-resistant, and sustainable.
Mark Oliver is a family-owned business in Transylvania that began building tables for residential use. In time, they expanded their line to include a variety of new designs for furnishings and home decor.
Following that spirit of progression, the factory is blending craftsmanship with modern technology to produce timeless designs, using only durable, natural materials like woods from sustainable sources and metals. “We see beauty in each tiny detail,” the designers share, “that’s why we often pick woods with visible knots that give character and uniqueness to every single piece we create.”