Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Discover the teak and rattan furniture of Myanmar



If you live here and want to buy traditional and good quality furniture go for rattan and teak wood. These are the two main raw materials for furniture in the country.

It was extraordinary to discover these beautiful and resistant materials and especially local designs. In Yangon you will find unique pieces not by visiting the big furniture stores but by looking for producers who recondition old furniture. You will find small workshops hidden and unknown discovered only by speaking with local people.
 
Here is a selection of shops/workshops which recondition old furniture or create custom-made new pieces from old wood and make the rattan furniture you want based on pictures from old magazines:

1. Helping Hands - reconditioned teak wood furniture
Address: 92B, Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda Road, close to the Traditional Medicine Hospital, German Embassy and Kandawygi Lake.
Phone: 01 556 482 / 01 554 824
(closed on Sundays)
They moved recently and all information which is online is out-dated.


Helping Hands is first and foremost a social project. We met the owner of the project, Ms Jenny an Australian lady very kind and welcoming. In the furniture workshop which lies around Jenny's house work around 50 young men all with difficult social backgrounds. Jenny does not get involved in the organisation of the workshop anymore but she put at their disposal a big part of the garden.

Inside the house, on the ground floor, ladies are sewing by hand or at the machine lovely traditional items: bags, napkins, dresses and T-shirts for kids, pillow covers, etc. You can buy their products on spot or at Pomelo.

 
On the second floor lives Jenny and her family. The house kitchen serves daily food  (except Sunday) for more than 50 persons. The place and the house are beautiful but what makes the place unique are the people working there and their mastery to create such beautiful products.
How it works?
 
They are gathering old and unused furniture from all over Myanmar. They bring and store them in the courtyard which is partly sheltered.




The customer arrives and, in most cases, will be invited for a cup of tea or glass of water. You need to take time to look for the one piece of furniture you always wanted. Believe me you come for nothing you end up buying something, you come for one piece you buy two and so on :)! You have to have "the eye" and see the final product beyond the dirt, dust, missing parts of the wood. You have chairs, desks, beds, tables (coffee, TV, dining and outdoor tables), traditional Myanmar chests with hidden compartments, cabinets and different furniture for the living room. After you decide they will discuss with you the finishing, will tell you the price (you may negotiate) and will write your name on the piece you bought. You have to pay an advance and they deliver in 3 to 4 weeks time.  

Take a look at some of the final products!





2. Hearty Rattan
Address: 59, (room 3), Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Yangon
(closed on Sundays)
@: heartyrattan@gmail.com

This is a tiny place and you would probably never find by yourself or enter through the garage like entrance with the tiny Hearty Rattan sign if you would not get it recommended by somebody. Even when you enter you will not find many things of interest on the ground floor. Everything on display is dusty and quite old. You are then invited upstairs and you are shown a few old catalogs and magazines with rattan furniture which they can reproduce for you. They have a small selection of rattan furniture on display and on the walls you can see pictures of rattan furniture made for different hotels and even the Australian Club of Yangon.  
The prices are very good compared with other places which sell rattan. Remember to always ask for a reduction. They can make almost everything out of rattan: (arm)chairs, tables, wardrobes, living room furniture, beds, lampshade, etc.

Here are some beautiful chairs we now have:







3. Burma Chindits
Address: write an email to jamie@burmachindits.com and he will explain how to reach their showroom.
We did not manage to yet visit them but the teak furniture on their website looks very nice; this company was recommended to us by different friends. It is definitely more expensive than Helping Hands but their furniture is new.





11 comments:

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  4. Thank you! I am looking into this now as I will be moving to Yangon for 1 year

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    3. 2- التعرف على قيمة القطعة حتى يتم تحديد الاسعار وتهتم الشركة باعطاء الاسعار وان يتم المحاسبة على الفور عند القيام بالاتفاق .
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