Where once reserved for royals, modernising the songket means weaving it into the everyday fabric of Malaysian life. As a child, ...
In Wood Company
The local carpenters and woodworkers you should know about.
A few years ago, wood became a trendy interior design material in Malaysia when a slew of cafés and restaurants started featuring it heavily in their décor, bringing out wood’s naturally unique features, its patterns telling a story of time and place. In the wake of its popularity, we’ve seen an emergence of artisanal carpenters and woodworkers carving out a name for themselves with bespoke pieces and sustainable practices. Here are three you need to know about.
Rekka Custom Garage
A custom design and build workshop nestled in the quiet hills of Kampung Penchala, Rekka Custom Garage strives to transform their clients’ ideas from imagination to reality, consulting every step of the process – design, costing, material selection, building methods and functionality and more. Four years ago, three friends spurred on by their collective interest in making and building formed Rekka as a collective, with work revolving around wood but not limited to it.
“What sets us apart is that we're not limited to just making furniture, we're able to do more - structural fabrication, mechanical systems, electronics and prototyping,” explains Shaik of Rekka. “We often take on jobs that others would not. We like the challenge of doing new things that we have never worked on before. A big bulk of our clients are designers, interior designers, architects, engineers or individuals trying to push the limits of design, trying to do things that’s never been done before.”
While the business is focused on custom orders, as of now, Rekka is working on creating their own line of products and developing solutions and internal systems while picking up new skills such as glass-blowing and blacksmithing to further enhance their work.
Email for enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram (store and products): www.instagram.com/rekka_store
Instagram (custom-made orders) www.instagram.com/r_e_k_k_a
Harith Green Carpenter
Harith Green Carpenter (HGC) is a sustainable furniture brand managed by husband and wife duo, Harith and Aiqa. The brand DNA focuses on quality designs, heavy-duty materials and eco-friendly processes. Specialising in the use of recycled materials as the base for their furniture, HGC’s factory is also home to a group of experienced craftsmen and high-tech machineries. Combining expert workmanship with the efficiency and precision of modern technology, Harith and team ensure that their clients receive quality, long lasting products while maintaining the core principle of sustainability.
Says Harith, “I’ve been involved in my family’s furniture business since young. As I became more involved in the industry, however, I saw the need to change manufacturers’ dependency on new wood, which continues to destroy many of our natural forestry. Three years ago, I began experimenting with used materials and construction waste and noticed the market’s positive demand for such items.”
“The trend was moving fast across new local cafés, themed restaurants and boutique hotels. While wood-based furniture is a good trend and it’s good for local businesses, we do, however, need to be aware of how we produce the furniture and what materials are used. Manufacturers and consumers alike need to recognise the need to change the way we consume things by opting for sustainable materials and processes, minimising the destruction of our resources.”
HGC is currently working on developing their ready-made collection of loose furniture and kitchenware brand, Dapo, which consists of wooden serving trays, chopping boards, coasters, and more. After receiving positive feedback for their kitchen items, the green carpenters are looking forward to expanding their kitchenware range and setting up an online store to cater to the growing demand.
Instagram (Harith): www.instagram.com/harithgreencarpenter
Pokothings is a social community wood workshop with two main visions: first, to nurture passion in woodworking. For this, they organise and run workshops ranging from “I-wanna-try-woodworking” to sessions where participants bring in something they want to build and they help and facilitate to build it together. Second, to support the local arts and creative industry wherever possible. Based in Hin Bus Depot, a thriving arts space in Penang, Pokothings is often surrounded by creative people here, where they are involved in making props, building easels, frames and plinths, setting up gallery spaces, and most importantly, general repairs and maintenance.
“I really liked woodwork from Kemahiran Hidup,” says Alex of Pokothings. “I was working with curators and artists, setting up shows and more often than not, we’d have to DIY our own props and stuff. Before I knew it, I had too many tools and material [wood], prompting me to have my own space.”
“There are other people in the team too; one of them is Shirish, who used to be an industrial designer at a multinational corporation. He brings the much-needed management advice to the workshops. We’re always looking for more people to join us. We mostly run classes, but every now and then, we need to brush up our techniques. That’s when we work on our own designs, in which we predominantly use export-grade plywood because we believe it’s more sustainable. We strongly believe in minimal aesthetic and functional design.”
Pokothings recently completed an art project in Mall of Medini, Johor Bahru as part of the PublikArt initiative. Drawings of chairs were collected from kids and Pokothings built the designs as drawn. The exhibition will be up and running soon.
Text and images by Chris Lim.
Pokothings images courtesy of Pokothings.
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