"Furniture from our manufactory has one disadvantage - it will outlive us." Interview with Wojciech Sobierański of Regalia Polska Manufaktura

06 of November '23

It started with an old barn in Warmia. Today, Regalia Polska Manufaktura gives a second life to centuries-old wood, and their furniture has made its way into homes in Poland and around the world.

© Regalia Polska Manufaktura

Wojciech Sobierański - owner and creator of the Regalia Polska Manufaktura brand, which produces furniture and interior design elements exclusively from recycled materials - aged wood and metal. A graduate of agriculture. During his studies he participated in foreign internships in research institutes and farms in Sweden, Great Britain, Germany and Australia. Since then he knew that he was inspired by nature, its protection and living in accordance with its rhythm. For more than a dozen years, he worked in sales and led teams, gaining experience in management. In 2007, he decided to quit the corporation and Toruń and settle in Warmia. While renovating his new home - an old Warmian habitat - he found his way of life. Three years later, he created the Regalia manufactory from the ruins of a barn. Today it is a showroom and pattern shop in Studnica near Jeziorany, 4 carpentry shops, a forge and several dozen employees.

© Regalia Poland Manufaktura

Katarzyna Szostak: How do you obtain materials?

Wojciech Sobierański: After more than a dozen years of our presence on the market, owners of old buildings come to us themselves. I want to emphasize that we obtain materials from buildings that can no longer be saved. Often they are neglected or the owners do not have the means or an idea how to renovate them. It's a good thing that they then get back to us, rather than throwing valuable wood, bricks and roof tiles into the dumpster or oven. When we arrive on site, people are surprised that we do the demolition by hand and not with a bulldozer. It's a long process, but after all, it's about recovering, not irreparably destroying, materials. The opposite of building a house, starting with the roof first tile by tile, board by board, brick by brick we dismantle the building. There we find real treasures, authentic traces of the work of old craftsmen, recorded stories. We always assess the condition of the material. If it is not rotten, scarred or full of worms. We try to save as much as we can, because the quality of wood and bricks from a century ago cannot be compared with anything similar produced today. And we have the evidence to prove it.

Meble z wiekowego drewna

© Regalia Polska Manufaktura

Katarzyna: What kind of wood is suitable for creating such furniture and what kind of wood will not be useful?

Wojciech: As I said before, when sourcing old wood we always assess its condition and whether it is rotten or full of worms. Wood that is healthy, dried, without worms, not infected, and not gnarled is suitable for making furniture. Sometimes I see furniture in which the wood falls apart. In our opinion, this is not the point. We care about making furniture that will last for many years, sturdy, so it must be made of high quality material. To get to the stage of making furniture, you need to properly prepare the reclaimed wood. First, nail them down. Yes, this is a difficult thing, and believe me, nowadays not many can do it. Few can remove the nail. Then drying with phytosanitary guarantee, cleaning with preservation of old wood surface and patina, and proper protection.

Katarzyna: What types of wood do you use?

Wojciech: We choose pine, also Tabor pine, spruce and oak for our furniture.

© Regalia Polska Manufaktura

Katarzyna: What is the difference between processing old and new wood?

Wojciech: At Regalia, we mostly level reclaimed wood only on one side. The other one must be worked by hand to preserve the old texture, patina and color. We're all about truth and authenticity. These are our strengths. It's easy to level a board on two sides and then artificially age it. We don't do that and that's what sets us apart. Of course, we make smooth furniture pieces from the core of old beams, such as carcasses. However, we don't destroy the old surface to make a new one, but by cutting the material, we get a fresh cut from two sides. It is still old natural wood.

© Regalia Poland Manufaktura

Katarzyna: How long can you use such furniture?

Wojciech: Furniture from our manufactory has one disadvantage - it will outlive us. Customers say, "this is an advantage". I would prefer to outlive our furniture, because it means I would live a very long time. In all seriousness, our furniture is made not for a season or 10 years, but for a very long time. It is a gift that we can pass on to the next generation. Imagine a 100-year-old forest, although we don't cut down trees to create furniture, but imagine that we harvest wood from that forest. If the tree was cut down in winter, in the right phase of the moon, it could dry naturally for at least 5 years and then a piece of furniture was made from it and properly protected, such a piece of furniture can be used for 50, 100 years. It is basically an immortal piece of furniture, like those of our ancestors or antiques. We quickly forget our history, the furniture of our grandparents. Old wood furniture is about memories, conveying emotions. I remember a table at my grandmother's house, in the top of which I poked a hole. Today, when I see it, those moments come back to me. Do board furniture provide us with such emotions? We treat them only as objects, making sure that no one damages them. In our furniture, scratches and traces of the past are additional assets. The passing of time works in their favor.

© Regalia Polska Manufaktura

Katarzyna: How client should take care of your furniture?

Wojciech: Care of old wood furniture is simple and very important to preserve its beauty. You can do it yourself. Covering Regalia furniture by hand with oil wax is an all-natural and durable solution.

  • You need a soft cotton cloth and oil wax. All of this is also included in the Regalia care box.

  • Before applying the care product, wipe the wooden surface with a damp cloth of soft material, preferably cotton.

  • Then apply the product to the cloth. It is worth remembering that it should be clean before each use.

  • Rub the wood in circular motions (along the grain). You can use a brush to get to hard-to-reach places. The care product protects aged wood from various types of oil, wine or tea stains. We recommend using the one recommended by us. Other preparations may adversely affect the surface of the wood.

  • Then wait a while for the wood to absorb the care product and that's it.

In the care of aged wood, consistency is key. It should be repeated every 3-6 months. More frequent care is required for table tops and furniture in the bathroom or kitchen. Less often we can perform care of a dresser or bed made of reclaimed wood.

© Regalia Polska Manufaktura

Katarzyna: Can this furniture be reworked again?

Wojciech: Our furniture, including kitchen furniture, which is 100% made of reclaimed wood, responds to individual customer needs. Form, type of wood and old surface, color, solutions, style of fronts, handles. We are able to realize literally any project. It is what arises from our imagination that we like best.

Old wood furniture is characterized by high quality, durability and plasticity. If we get bored with them, for example, they can be repainted. The natural oils we use do not penetrate deeply into the structure of the wood and do not change its color. This furniture can also be reworked. It happens that we give a third life to old wood. We also have a new service dedicated to owners of Regalia kitchen furniture - Fronts OD NOWA. Time passes, it's natural, it remodels reality and changes the view of many things. This can be the case with us and our interior. We understand when our customers want to look at their kitchen with fresh eyes. If they are planning to change the design, all we need to do is to transform the fronts of the kitchen furniture. We already have a solid foundation - furniture bodies made of old wood. We will be happy to prepare a new design or color for the fronts. We will propose a new solution, so that a kitchen made of aged wood will once again receive a new life. This is due to our deep convictions and actions not to waste anything. In today's world, there are often seasonal collections. I associate this word badly. As in fashion, there is a collection, then it passes, things are no longer on trend, you can throw them away and have to buy another one. And so on endlessly. I see the world quite the opposite. At Regalia, furniture designs that sold 15 years ago are also doing well now.

Katarzyna: Thank you

Interviewed byKATARZYNA SZOSTAK

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