Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Intro by Kayla Unnerstall
Images courtesy of Westminster Teak USA
Stylish yet functional, teak furniture has established itself as an indoor-outdoor staple that’s perfect for patio entertaining. Established 25 years ago in England, Westminster Teak has become an industry leader, most notably chosen to furnish Camp David. Design Bureau spoke with Westminster Teak USA designer Mal Haddad about the company’s rise to success and why its “factory-owned” products are just as ageless as their durable material.
How does teak set itself apart from other furniture materials?
Teak is a durable hardwood with dense grain and high natural oil content—qualities that afford it little or no care. It’s the material of choice for its sheer beauty and dependability. Its high oil and silica content make it highly resistant to rotting, warping, or splitting, allowing it to withstand the extremities of weather, including sun, rain, and snow. For these unique properties in its strength and stability, teak has been for centuries and still is the enduring material used in ship building, and of course furniture making. The teak deck of [Germany’s] Bismarck [battleship] was found still intact at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
How does it feel to know that your furniture is at Camp David?
I think it is a testament to the quality of the furniture and the service we offer. If the furniture is good enough for leaders of the world, it must be good enough for the rest of us!
Our furniture has furnished some of the most well-known hotels, resorts, spas, restaurants, and private clubs of the world. Some of these include The W hotel, Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, The Breakers hotel, Four Seasons resorts, The James NY, Kahala, Equinox, Marriott, Mandarin Oriental hotel, The Metropolitan Opera, and Apple, Inc.
Where does your teak come from?
All the teak used in the manufacturing of our furniture is from sustainably harvested plantations under the strict management of the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. Our factory was the first to join Nusa Hijau, the Indonesian Chapter of the Global Forest Trade Network, an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund. It was created to eliminate illegal logging, improve the management of threatened forests, and promote biodiversity and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.
How else does Westminster Teak stand apart from competitors?
Because we’re factory owned, our products are almost entirely made from one manufacturing facility, our own. In many ways, it is our strength, from a standpoint of inventory supply and management, quality control, product turnaround (from design to production), contract work, and special projects. We make products that will endure over time, season after season, year after year, long after the trends are forgotten. Because the furniture lasts a very long time, we end up building relationships with our customers that last just as long. Our designs are as timeless and enduring as the material it is made of.