“I“I think of them as art,” Rachel Dubois says, running her hand across the swirling grain of a large, teak table in the showroom. “It’s not just something you eat off. Well I mean it is, but it’s more than that too.”
Good Wood Home Designs started after Dubois fell in love with the organic beauty of the whirling lines and rivets found naturally in the grain of teak. She started collecting the handmade teak furniture found in Java, Indonesia, a few years ago and in March, opened her flagship store in the capital, selling reclaimed teak furniture and home wares.
A lot of furniture has the wood smoothed, lacquered and stained, Dubois says, but the natural textures of wood are what make it unique.
“Teak has this wonderful grain,” she says. “It’s hard to find stuff like this. Stuff that hasn’t had the beauty sucked out of it.”
Reminiscent of a mountainscape, or the lines the sand makes when lapped by waves at the shore, it’s easy to see what Dubois means by natural beauty. It’s as if all the items have their own personality, be it, rough, tranquil, swirling or aged; the grain tells the story of the tree.
Not only admired for its grain, teak also has a high oil content, which makes it naturally waterproof and protected from dry rot, cracking, warping and parasites. Found in Southeast Asia, teak has been used for centuries to make ships and bridges, and other items exposed to the elements.
Starting with a honey brown colour, the wood turns silver as it ages. The best teak furniture is made from mature trees, which can take up to 80 years to grow. Therefore, a lot of teak is taken from reclaimed structures, old building, bridges and boats.
It’s also important that each teak tree felled is replaced with a new one, and all Good Wood’s furniture has the approval of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which means it is either reclaimed or from a managed plantation.
“We are the only retailer of FSC certified products in Cambodia,” Dubois says. “Up to 75 percent of our stock is reclaimed, and everything else is sustainably sourced from well managed forests.”
Dubois stocks a range of chests, tables, stools and cupboards. Some are adorned with Indonesian batik (patterns) burned into the wood, while a few tables have hardened squares of lava from Mount Marathi. Some are simply rubbed with chalk to bring out that incredible grain.
Good Wood also sells twisting bowls made from the roots of the teak tree, intricately carved doors, frames, shutters and lamps. Other items, such as, bed frames and larger pieces can be ordered from the catalogue. Opening another store in Toul Tom Poung, Dubois plans to introduce a larger range of smaller house hold items too.
24e Street 302, Phnom Penh. Open Tuesday to Friday, from 10am to 5.30pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 5pm.