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Categories: HospitalitySeating

Thai Teak

Teak is one of the most beautiful woods in the world, with its rich color and tight grain. It’s also among the most valuable.

But in the workshops of Bangkok, Thailand, scrap teak is just junk. The furniture and sculpture workshops generate tons of teak trash every year, and most of it is simply burned.

Chairwalker, crafted from recycled teak. Designed by Singh Intrachooto. Manufactured by Ford Brady.

Singh Intrachooto thought that was a shame, so he started collecting the cast-offs and creating beautiful designs with it. Enter Willard Ford and John Brady, who had just decided to open their Ford Brady design center in Los Angeles and were scouting their old southeast-Asian stomping ground (actually cycling ground - they had met on the international bike-racing circuit) for product lines to represent.

“We met him, and he was impressive,” says Ford. “But he had produced ten items and had no interest. Apparently we were the first to see the potential in his Osisu designs.”

It was only later that they found out their special find was actually a design “Rock star,” as Brady put it.

“MIT, University of Washington, PhD from MIT as well,” Ford recites. “Published in about 50 different places, lecturing at Tokyo and in Hong Kong as well as in Thailand. He just hadn’t ever done furniture before.”

Intrachooto calls this piece “chairwalker”. Made out of recycled teak with an invinsible iron skeleton inside, it is at once bold and whimsical and has won accolades from Bangkok to Paris.

Not only is the wood sustainable, but the glues and finishes are non-toxic and release no VOCs.

“There’s an Arts and Crafts aesthetic which you don’t see in contemporary design,” says Brady. “It was very poignant to see this modern-statement, iconic furniture being made out of recycled teak. It is very much beyond ordinary.”

Posted March 11th, 2008 by Jeremy Bloom

  • Jacob Slevin

    Can this chair be used for outdoor use? I am fairly certain (but this might be a mental blunder on my part) that Teak’s material properties include water resistance.

  • sharon

    it probably can..there is so much patio furniture i’ve seen made out of teak and the ebay home spokesperson chose teak furniture as one of his summer picks

  • Jacob Slevin

    @sharon, if it’s good enough for ebay, it’s good enough for me

  • Barbara

    I rue the day that i gave up half my teak bedroom set to my ex! There is something so magical about teak.

  • Sarah

    can I find this product on designer pages?

  • John Brady

    Outdoor use is not recommended for the Chairwalker. Most outdoor teak furniture pieces are constructed with some kind of slatted wood construction using small pieces of wood. This method of construction allows for the wood to expand and contract with changing weather and dry quicker. It also makes it more difficult for water to “pool” for long periods of time. Even teak has limitations!

  • Joshua Hoffman, Joshuas Trees

    I enjoy seeing first growth Teak remanents recycled. My interest as a builder is fostering design with outdoor woods available locally here in the Northeast such as Locust, red and white cedar, and even White Oak. Although its difficult to compete with the inexpensive labor of Southeast Asia, nice products rich in craftsmanship and simply made can be found here at home. Pictures on request.

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