“Probably the best brickmaker in the world” is how the Financial Times describes Christian A. Petersen, a self-proclaimed ‘Armani of brickmaking’ and seventh-generation owner of Petersen Tegl.
A long-time respected friend and business collaborator of Robertson’s Building Products, the octogenarian Christian still happily works full time, checking in at 7am every day, and just might consider moving to part time at age 95. We hear your huge sigh of relief, along with countless architects, designers and homeowners the world around – all ardent admirers and customers of Petersen’s unique range of handmade bricks.
Petersen bricks have thrived over seven generations and Christian explains why: “When you travel the world and look at old buildings and streets, they are beautiful, they are hyggelig, because they couldn’t get consistency in bricks back then. But that’s why they are charming. That’s why we fire our bricks with flames and coal so they are never the same size or colour.”
Architect Peter Zumthor worked with Christian to create the handmade Kolumba bricks for the Kolumba art museum in Germany. Peter and, rather accidentally, Christian cemented the world’s love affair with the perfect imperfections of handmade Petersen Kolumba bricks, now in demand and available in 33 shades, worldwide.
That’s what makes Petersen bricks so unique and well loved: The warmth, tonal variation and artisan quality.
But, as the Financial Times article suggests, the person behind the bricks makes them special, too.
Danish Queen Margrethe II, following a visit to Petersen Tegl, was quoted as saying, “Petersen is a company that one either runs away from screaming after 30 minutes, or stays with for the rest of one’s life.”
And architect Peter Guthrie, founding partner of DDG in New York, describes Christian as “a joy to collaborate with”.
Indeed, to know the spirit and passion behind Christian, along with Annette, his daughter and her husband Peter Zink who run the Copenhagen showroom, you have to be lucky enough to meet them in person. And hear the many colourful stories behind the brickworks and the bricks – the evolution of Kolumba bricks, of course, the most famous and enchanting of all.