Olivier Fruchart : Home > Image gallery > Wood > Alpine furniture


Picture: April 2000

Picture: January 2018. The wood turned red over the year.

Late recognition

or a long time Alpine furniture had not been considered as pieces of Art. Two reasons may be thought of.
     The first reason is that the past centuries were tough time for the Alps inhabitants: winters were tough and harvests were poor, so that the only pieces of furniture that were built, were built for their own homes. However, this explanation does not completely hold, as many of these inhabitants turned to be merchants during snow-covered wintertime, during which no land work could be carried out. The difficulties to carry such heavy loads as pieces of furniture on mountain paths might also be claimed.
     The second reason is that until the beginning of the century Alpine inhabitants were not always considered as highly civilized, from the point of view of big cities inhabitants. Therefore, the least awaited characteristic of Alps was to be able to produce any piece of art.
     The situation has slowly evolved since mid 20th century, so that Alpine woodcraft is nowadays fully acknowledged and largely appreciated.


lthough many artistic trends are found throughout the Alps, many features are common to the majority of them. These features arise from specific aspects of the Alpine life. Some of them are listed below.

The picture

he pictures on this page are those from a piece of furniture that I made during the Spring of 2000. It is not a copy from an existing item, although the design and decoration are characteristic of traditional Alpine furniture. Its purpose also follows the Alpine tradition, as it was built as a Wedding furniture.
    The wood is larchtree, a species thriving mainly in southern Alps. This species yields a redish wood, a feature of whose is to be imputrescible. It had been often chosen for water-related uses, like roof covering or water-poles (e.g. in Venice). However, this larchtree wood is not easy to carve (fibrous wood) so that several wood species are usually used for the same furniture: a hard and imputrescible wood like larchtree for beams, and a softer wood like pine for carved panels.
    The furniture was entirely hand-made, and the various pieces of wood were finally put together without the use of screws, nails or any metallic part. It was finally oiled, so as to enhance the natural wood veins. The dimensions are approximately 1m long, 70cm high and 50cm large.