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Chanintr Living brings iconic designer furniture to Phuket

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PHUKET: Think about a chair. Not much to it, is there? It’s an object often taken for granted – just a few pieces of wood stuck together to keep you comfortable.

Take a second, closer look. Notice the curves, the joints, the fragile pieces all there to keep you from landing on the floor. Look long enough and you’ll discover that a chair is in fact a little wonder.

Even more so if you realize, that behind some of the most common, familiar chairs and other pieces of furniture, stand the giants of modern design. The likes of Eames, Arne Jacobsen or Emeco, to name just a few, are constantly present in our lives.

The trouble is, most of the time they are not real. Some, if not most, of furniture we deal with everyday are in fact copies of pieces designed long time ago, far, far away. But if you don’t like drinking cheap sparkling wine instead of Champagne, or wearing Adonis in place of Adidas, why should you settle for fakes in the furniture department?

The good news is, you don’t have to. There is a company here in Thailand that deals in the real thing. The company is Chanintr Living, they have been here for 20 years, and they have almost 30 of world’s most famous furniture design brands in their portfolio.

Visiting one of Chanintr Living showrooms is like visiting a design gallery – and in fact some of the pieces you’ll find in Chanintr Living shops are on display in places such as New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The moment you step into the store, you realize you are surrounded by familiar objects – you know these shapes and forms, you’ve seen some of them many times before. The difference is, these are authentic. And each has a story to tell.

“Every iconic piece has a story and in our showroom you can ask about this story,” explains Chanintr Sirisant, the company’s founder and CEO. “It’s not a made up, marketing talk, but real history behind a piece, the philosophy of the designer,” he explains.

Mr Chanintr started the company out of love for design, and it’s the love for great design that is clearly visible in all Chanintr Living showrooms, including the one in Phuket’s Bypass Road. Take a look around, sit in one of the armchairs, spend some time on a sofa and you’ll understand this passion better.

“There is a lot to be said about what it takes to make a piece of furniture very well. The quality, the manufacturing, where the wood comes from and how it’s taken care of – it all matters,” explains Mr Chanintr.

You think that cheaper copies look and carry their daily duties just as well? In fact, they might look elusively attractive right there, in the shop. But give it six months, a year, five years, expose it to time, weather, and life in general, and you’ll see the difference. The originals are made to last, the fakes are made to sell.

But that’s not just it. The devil is in the details. Every curve and angle, every piece of wood, sheet of leather used in making an iconic piece of furniture is closely studied to give you the ultimate comfort.

“People try to copy Picasso all the time, but somehow you know that there is something a bit wrong with the copy. It’s this kind of thing. If someone puts a lot of time and effort into understanding something well, at the end of the day you will get a result that somehow speaks to you,” Mr Chanintr explains.

“Most of the pieces in our showrooms will be in great shape in a decade, they are made to last long. The useful life of lower priced furniture you see in other places, will be much shorter. The upfront cost of the original might be higher, but over the course of time it turns out to be of better value,” he adds.

In Chanintr Living showrooms, it’s not only the furniture that’s meant to last long. It’s also the relationships with the customers. To achieve that, Mr Chanintr works with people who share his passion for great design and care about the customer.

Nothing proves this point better than assigning Warrawan Foedisch, the first employee to join the company over 20 years ago, to lead Chanintr’s expansion to Phuket. Under her leadership, the small outlet in Surin, where Chanintr made its first steps on the island, soon became too small and the showroom was relocated to the large, two story Hafele Design Center on the Bypass Road.

“There is no point in having a customer who just buys one bedside table, this is not how you make this business,” explains Mr Chanintr when asked about his customer care philosophy.

“It’s all about caring, about building long term relationships. We find people who care about the customer, who really do see them through the whole experience. Obviously we sell good stuff of high quality, but customers come back because they trust us and they trust the level of service we provide.”

So next time you’re thinking of getting a new chair, or any piece of furniture for that matter, it is well worth paying attention to the details. Once you visit the Chanintr Living showroom, where you can touch it, sit on it, feel it and learn its story, you’ll never look at a chair the same way again.

— Maciek Klimowicz

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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