The constant evolution in the design world has led to many innovative discoveries – especially when it comes to solid wood furniture. Today, it’s to a point where you can easily find tons of categories in the furniture genre. So, what makes Indonesian and Bali sourced furniture worth your notice?
There are many things, actually. First and foremost, it’s the quality of their wood; teak and mahogany being popular choices. Both are sturdy, durable, and slated to be your partners for life. Secondly, there’s the art of wood carving, so Indonesian furniture is bound to feature gorgeous traditional designs that are hand-carved for posterity. However, as the saying goes, “The sky’s the limit,” and so it also applies to Indonesian furniture aesthetics. In today’s market, you can find many contemporary designs as well. They have tropical hints that speak to the vernacular of Indonesia while being classy, upscale, and minimalist at the same time. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about this category of solid wood furniture.
Largest furniture design industry? Covered!
No one can deny the fact that furniture has been around for thousands of years, and you know what? So have the tropical forests of Indonesia. Around 60% of the entire country is covered in natural forests, which means that forestry is an industry that is quite thriving in Indonesia. As a result, you can find a variety of wooden products – such as panels, rattan, pulp & paper, etc. – there. This is why solid wood furniture has become such a thriving part of Indonesia’s export as well as indigenous offerings. Employing around 2 million people directly (and 8 million indirectly) Indonesia boasts one of the largest furniture industries in the world.
Types of wood used in Indonesian Furniture
As we’ve established, wood is an ample product in Indonesia, and here the types that are commonly used in furniture:
- Teak: Strong and luxurious, this is the ideal type of wood for high-end, upscale furniture items.
- Mahogany: Slightly less expensive than teak, mahogany wood is plush, durable, and also a luxe choice for furniture-making.
- Suar: Suar is another popular wood choice for Indonesian furniture and is known for its beautiful grain. It’s a native of the indigenous forests – although it was introduced by colonists. Single slab suar wood tables are a staple of Indonesian furniture design.
- Rosewood: Renowned for its naturally dark finish, this type of wood is the epitome of sleek elegance.
- Tamarind: Used because of its mass-availability in the Indonesian forests, it’s thick and makes an instant impact.
Design Development: from traditional to contemporary
The rich cultural and traditional values of Indonesia are often translated very well in their furniture. However, you’ll find a large sub-divide in the type of Indonesian furniture aesthetics available in the market. Let’s take a close look at both of them, and why each one is relevant in its own right:
- Traditional: It is a well-known fact that woodcarving has been practiced in Indonesia since ancient times. The tradition has been passed down through the generations and is now applied in various crafts and design products. These include statues, handicrafts, and obviously: solid wood furniture. Since wood is so amply available in the country, traditional hand-carved designs have become a trademark of Indonesian furniture. They’re unique, beautiful, interesting, and very distinct. Some typical steps that go into the making of traditional Indonesian furniture are as follows:
- Wood sourcing: First off is the sourcing where the raw material is taken from the forests to a sawing station, where it is cut to size, oven-dried, and assembled.
- Carving: After being leeched of all moisture, it is prepared for carving. Skilled artisans then carve out stunning designs on this canvas. Here’s what sets Indonesian furniture apart: it’s dried to low-moisture content during storage and transportation.
- Quality control: Lastly, quality control is an essential step for every furniture manufacturer in the Indonesian industry. Since many pieces are designed for export, even a single blemish can cost a lot to the manufacturer if the recipient finds damaged products. So during quality control, defective products are sent for repairs and if the damage is extensive, it is then relegated to the domestic market instead of being exported
- Contemporary: Since traditional furniture is not up to everyone’s tastes, many manufacturers have evolved their designs to befit the contemporary aesthetic. Many of these furniture products are mass-produced and use modern machinery instead of old-school tools and joineries. Indonesian market has also delved in the synthetic/composite wood industries, so it’s not uncommon to find particle and fiberboard furniture sourced from the country. Obviously, the designs of these products are simple and modern to keep up with the demands of mass-production. They’re also an affordable choice.
Where to use Indonesian furniture in your homes?
Despite its very distinct looks, Indonesian furniture is perfect for all residential interior designs. Its traditional aesthetic can accent modern/contemporary homes and feel right at home in a rustic or classical ambiance. Here are a few ideas for you:
- Dining rooms: Indonesian furniture can make a fantastic visual impact in your dining rooms. The dining tables, chairs, hutches, and sideboards of this genre are not only well-crafted but also have an incredibly charismatic appeal.
Sierra’s Arzenville Mahogany Wood Pedestal Round Dining Table is an excellent recommendation for brining some Indonesian love in your dining rooms. It’s a total classic with rich brown tones, tuned legs on the chair fronts, and a stylish pedestal for the round dining tabletop. It would definitely bring an inherent charm to your spaces.
- Living rooms: Living rooms need to be cozy, stylish, and comfortable at the same time, and furnishing with Indonesian pieces can get you the best of all worlds. From rugged coffee tables to carved end tables, there’s a lot of variety you can find in this genre.
You can be inspired by Sierra’s Britain Handcrafted Rustic Teak Wood 2 Drawer Coffee Table, which features an artfully distressed finish and bold lines. It would definitely make your living rooms feel cozier, trendier, and more pragmatic.
- Bedrooms: If you want to make a stylish statement in your bedrooms, then going for Indonesian furniture can be your best bet. From beautifully hand-crafted headboards/footboards, nightstands, dressers, and even mirrors, there’s nothing you can’t find in this genre.
Just take a look at the Bardugo Traditional Solid Mahogany Wood 3 Drawer Nightstand
Popular wood carved elements in Indonesian Furniture
Authentic Indonesian solid wood furniture has many mainstream carved design elements. They’re typically centered around their provincial origins. Further, we’ll be looking at a few of them:
- The Jeparan Style: The kind of relief/motifs found in the Jepara era have become a trademark of Indonesian furniture items produced even to this day. Their easy elegance and simple form are very well translated in solid wood products. Note that Jeparan motifs originate from traditional Javanese reliefs with many outside cultural influences such as European, Arab, and even Chinese. They can be subdivided into these categories:
- Natural patterns: You’ll find natural patterns to be a commonality in many Indonesian furniture products. Many of these are an amalgamation of leaves, flowers, intertwining vines, and even fruits.
- Contemporary patterns: To keep up with the influx of export orders, Indonesian furniture carvers have also evolved their aesthetics to keep up with contemporary sensibilities. These feature the same natural patterns but are more wide-spread and modern instead of being detailed and intertwined.
The Yogyakarta Style: Featuring Hindu, Buddhist, and Chinese influences, there are a number of motifs that you can find in the furniture produced in the Yogyakarta province. Let’s look at them:
- The dragon motif: This motif is influenced by Chinese culture. It’s flowing form is very impressive and requires detailed carvings.
- The Garuda motif: The Garuda is a bird-like creature from Hindu mythology and has become a mainstream element in the Indonesian traditional furniture market.
- Floral motifs: The only floral motif used in the Yogyakarta style is the “heavenly flower” of the lotus that has Hindu and Chinese origins.
- Geometric motifs: The most popular geometric motif in Indonesian furniture is the “Wajikan.” It’s Javanese and has a trapezoidal shape.
- Bali Style: The furniture that you come across in Bali is typically labeled “antique.” They’re not exactly authentic antique items – just unfinished products from Java that have been processed to emulate the vintage aura. Other than that, the Balinese style just takes inspiration from the Jeparan and Yogyakarta styles with a touch of contemporary in the mix.
So, this is everything that you need to know about Indonesian furniture. Indonesia is a top-ranking country in furniture exports and is renowned for its sturdily crafted and gorgeous products. You’ll definitely appreciate having an original Indonesian piece in your home interiors!
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