The middle dutch word KUPE is the origin of the word “cooper,” which is the profession
of making staved wooden vessels including barrels.
The Küpe line is crafted from used bourbon barrels from Bardstown, Kentucky, the Bourbon Capital of the world. The barrels are constructed from new white oak and charred on the inside to produce the unique flavor and color of the bourbon. These barrels are only used one time to age bourbon, after which some are sold and shipped to Scotland to make scotch. The remaining barrels are discarded by the distillery and often sold for firewood or planters.
While many people have repurposed barrels for other uses, our intent is to work with the material in striking new ways. We begin by dismantling
the barrels into to individual pieces, the staves, metal bands, and circular heads. We explore how these parts can work together to create a simple functional design while retaining the individual characteristics
and natural colors of the aged wood from the original barrels, thus creating a new vernacular. We even hoped to impart some sense of the added quality of working with the barrel parts In our Red Hook shop where the sweet scent of bourbon permeates the process.
The furniture in this line clearly demonstrates using reclaimed material
to its fullest potential. These pieces represent six simple solutions to repurposing aged-oak bourbon barrels into unique contemporary functional furniture. They demonstrate beautiful applications for the material far beyond firewood or planters.