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Thursday, June 1, 2023

PHOTOS: Perfection in a block of wood

In an old house filled with all types of wood, carpentry machines and books, lives a couple of talented artisans who have dedicated most of their lives to creating and restoring different objects made of wood, glass and metal.

Wolfgang, 52, was born in Germany and came to Costa Rica with his family in 1981. He met Patricia, 51, in 1984, and they have been together since, not only as a couple but also as partners in labor. They started a carpentry workshop and began crafting and restoring anything from car accessories to musical instruments. They now mainly focus on their specialty, wooden toy blocks.

“We thought wood blocks were something we really liked to make, something people would buy, and especially an educational game that lasts for generations,” Wolfgang says.

The couple once had a stand on Avenida Central in downtown San José, and the blocks sold like fresh bread to parents as gifts for their children, and to architects, engineers and designers. The business went well until 1991, when after having difficulties in Costa Rica, they moved back to Germany.

They stayed there until 2013, where Wolfgang worked in a metal factory and started dabbling in the world of antiques. Wolfgang had some knowledge he gained from his family and with the help of books and the Internet. They started a business buying antiques from flea markets in Europe and selling them in the United States. Over time they became experts in the trade, dealing with pieces from the 17th and 18th centuries that they sent to rich collectors in the U.S.

But the global economic crisis hurt their business and affected the factory where Wolfgang worked. In 2013, they moved back to Costa Rica.

They started working with wood and glass again and created Atrium Design Source, designing wood objects, educational games for children and their famous wood blocks.

“The wood blocks are not only for children, but can also be used by architects and designers,” says Patricia.

“We worry a lot about making them as perfect as possible, knowing that making them fit perfectly together is very important, both for children and adults,” adds Wolfgang.

To learn more, contact Atrium Design Source on their Facebook page here.

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