Karben Wood: A Smooth Stop

Featuring simple lines and local materials, Karben Wood’s furniture is a response to a world moving too quickly.

In an era of disposable furniture cheaply made in faraway places and easily replaced as trends come and go, the Georgia chair and Anni bench by Toronto-based Karben Wood stand in stark contrast to that. Debuting during Toronto Design Week in early 2020 and co-founded by David Benson, a former lawyer from England now on to a second career as a furniture-maker, and interior designer Lia Karras, the inaugural collection was designed with the belief that “furniture will not only inhabit a person’s space, but will become an intimate part of someone’s story, and the story of their home.”Taking cues from both Windsor and Wegner such as clean lines and traditional joinery, both pieces were designed with several goals in mind: thoughtful use of local materials and labour; creative small-batch manufacturing that allows for efficient production and a high level of craftsmanship. Both pieces are made of solid ash harvested from local trees in a co-operative workspace in Toronto. “It is important for us to keep our shop within the city where our customers can see where their furniture is made. We believe that creating greater connection between consumers and the products they choose will inform more thoughtful and more local choices. [Georgia and Anni] offer an opportunity to support local lumber mills, local designers, local makers, women in woodworking and local small businesses.”

According to the company’s official statement, “We strive to create products that are made efficiently, with a high level of craftsmanship, around the corner from the person who will hopefully own the piece for a very long time. This keeps people connected within their neighborhoods, keeps people employed doing meaningful work, and reduces the amount of goods in ships zigzagging around the globe. Our company is committed to positively impacting our community. We are currently working on pro-bono design and manufacturing work for a not-for-profit in the city that is encouraging children’s literacy. We have also partnered with One Tree Planted. For every piece of furniture sold, a tree is planted.”

Photography by Lauren Kolyn