Made in indonesia |

Asiatica Furniture: The Allure of Wood

MADE IN INDONESIA | 8 March 2019

Asiatica Furniture offers timeless solid wooden products, which are not only pleasing to the eye, but can also be handed down from generation to generation. Since its inception, Asiatica Furniture aims to be a brand that is synonymous with quality.

Asiatica makes furniture that offers a taste of Indonesian design, but with a modern twist; meaning that those products are considerably less ornate than the original traditional style. Photo courtesy of Asiatica Furniture/NOW!JAKARTA

Not all wooden items are created equal, as their beauty and quality depend on the choice of wood. Asiatica Furniture, which was established in 1997, is famous for products that are simple in design yet visually appealing due to the natural beauty of their exquisite wooden materials. Each item is handcrafted from real, solid wood rather than pressboard or plywood.

“Solid wood furniture has a lifetime durability, and this durability ensures that well-looked-after solid wood items offer excellent value for money,” says Grace Pranata, one half of the husband and wife duo behind Asiatica.

Asiatica uses various species of wood, namely teak, rain tree, Indian (black) rosewood, jackfruit, mahogany and tamarind, to make its goods; items which are made of teak and rain tree (trembesi aka samanea saman) are the bread and butter of this brand, as those tropical woods are highly favoured by its expatriate buyers who make up approximately 70 per cent of Asiatica’s clientele.

“We use sustainable wood sourced from Perhutani [state-owned forestry firm] as well as from government-approved village plantations. We do not use endangered or protected species of wood,” Grace notes.

Asiatica Furniture is the brainchild of Grace and her husband, Jeffrey Japutera who turned their penchant for Indonesian wooden furniture into business in 1997. In line with their personal taste, Asiatica’s furniture ranges from classic colonial styles to clean modern lines that showcase the wood’s distinctive grains.

“Every type of wood has its own unique characteristics. In fact, each piece of wood is unique as no piece of wood has exactly the same grains, thus every single wooden product is actually a one-of-a-kind item,” Grace says.

Coffee tables, stools, cabinets, dining tables, benches, bookshelves, and beds are among the goods on display at Asiatica’s shop in Kemang; there are items which are distinctive in their appearance, such as the planter’s chair and step tansu [stair-step cabinet] that are, in my opinion, quite rare in Jakarta.

The Planter’s chair, which was popular during the Dutch colonial period in Indonesia, is an easy chair that is characterised by a contoured design with low seat and a sloped back.

Meanwhile, Asiatica’s step tansu is inspired by the Japanese step chest [tansu], which originated in the Edo period (1603 - 1868) and used not only for storage, but as steps for accessing an upper floor, too (see photo in this article).

Asiatica also makes furniture that offers a taste of Indonesian design, but with a modern twist; meaning that those products are considerably less ornate than the original traditional style. Intricately ornate objects are, indeed, not Asiatica’s cup of tea.

However, clients may ask Asiatica to add some carvings on the furniture, as long as they are not too ornate (to give the best result, the artisans from Jepara will make the carvings at Asiatica’s workshop in Jakarta; Jepara, a regency in Central Java, is considered home to many of the best wood carvers in Indonesia).  

Prices for the furniture start at IDR 1,500,000 for a wooden stool. The most expensive items are single-slab dining tables that have price tags between IDR 27,000,000 and IDR 30,000,000 – each of these exquisite dining tables is made of a single-slab of trembesi [rain tree] wood, with dimension of 1 metre in width and 2 metres in length.

Besides selling goods on display, Asiatica also offers customised ones, and they can create more economical option for your desired object. For example, the step tansu on display, which is made of teak, has a price tag of IDR 14,000,000 – however, Asiatica can custom-made a lower price version of that stair-step cabinet by using another type of wood, such as mahogany.

At Asiatica’s workshop in Jagakarsa (south Jakarta), its handcrafted products are made by using craftsmanship that has been passed down through the generations; the craftsmen are sourced from Pasuruan and Jepara, two towns in Java, which are considered home to many of the best furniture makers in Indonesia.

As upcycled goods are gaining popularity, besides using fresh-cut lumbers, Asiatica also uses reclaimed wood from old houses and buildings that are being destroyed as well as from old railway sleepers.

This trend, called up-cycling, is different from recycling, as in up-cycling the item is not turned into what it was before. Instead, waste and useless materials are converted into entirely different objects; such as house pillars are turned into coffee tables. Interestingly, due to high demand, reclaimed wood actually costs lots of money to obtain.

Items created of reclaimed materials are prized for their quality, as it is widely believed that old wooden materials are of better quality than fresh-cut lumber. An example of a repurposed item at Asiatica is a table made by using old railway sleepers.

Asiatica’s furniture is beautiful in its simplicity. Furniture trends may come and go, but for many people, items that are simple in design yet visually appealing due to the natural beauty of their exquisite wooden materials, will never go out of style.

 

Asiatica Furniture
Kemang Raya No. 41 (across from Mamma Rosy restaurant).
+62-21 7193 263
Opening Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Monday to Sunday).
Instagram: @asiaticafurniture
Facebook: Asiatica Furniture
www.asiaticafurniture.com