Rachel & Natalie -The Scandinavian phase.
The impetus behind the R&N Brand is to produce furniture that is different. Different in that all the designs are original to the Brand, and while there are definitely influences from past furniture movements, there are no reproductions of other designer’s models in the ranges marketed under the R&N Brand.
The brains and the driving force behind Rachel&Natalie is Andy, who is a native-born son of Jepara in Central Java, and his goal is to produce designs that are product oriented instead of market oriented, which is the norm for designs produced in Jepara, which is the hub of furniture manufacture in Central Java. Product oriented design means that instead of bowing to the needs and requests of the clients, the company produces the best and highest quality designs that they can, knowing that the clients will come to buy those designs once they have been made public.
R&N always want to have something fresh and new, and now they are going through what could be called their Scandinavian phase. Scandinavian design is “HOT” in the global furniture marketplace at the moment, and the designs are both modern and “Retro” at the same time. For those who are not aware, Retro design means influenced by the mid-century styles of the Fifties, and also the Sixties. These influences can clearly be seen in the clean lines, angled legs and other features in the furniture. Scandinavian designs are very well suited to be made from Teak, because a light rich golden colour is traditional in Scan design.
Teak is Andy’s favourite wood to use, and it will always feature heavily in R&N designs whatever phase they are going through. Teak is very well known to be a premier furniture wood for both indoor and outdoor furniture, being both stable and strong, and having good resistance to weather, rot and warping. Also, Teak is just as beautiful and useful completely unfinished, as it is with coats of lacquer in natural colour, or coats of lacquer and rich wood stains. While not all of R&N’s designs have Scandinavian influence, they are all indeed modern, and Teak is always very well suited for use in modern designs.
Mixed materials also feature heavily in R&N designs. Combining synthetics, plastics, steel, stainless steel and others with the base material of Teak add another dimension of interest to the designs and helps keep them new and fresh. As R&N move forward into the future they have a goal to produce six new complete collections for the home every year, so you can expect to see many, many more innovative designs as continue to follow the fortunes of the Rachel&Natalie Brand both on this Blog and on W Home.
The Rachel&Natalie story starts in Jepara with Andy’s family and his older brother, who was one of the first in his family to get involved in furniture, When Andy was very young, he used to see the many containers of furniture being loaded by the roadside and leaving Jepara, and it made him fell pleased to see that. Even at that early age he knew that he wanted to be involved in the furniture business and load and send his own containers.
Fate intervened and halfway through high school Andy found himself in Bandung to continue the second half of high school and onto university there. Studying management at university in Bandung and working at the same time, Andy had to support himself and pay for his university himself. He made his first foray into business at this time as he managed to open his own shop in the fashion industry which Bandung is so well known for. By the time he was finished with his studies he had four shops and had become successful in the local Bandung fashion industry. He stayed in the fashion industry for 8 years. After a brief foray into the gold business while still in Bandung, Andy’s first passion started to call him back home to Jepara, and that first passion was furniture.
Andy’s home city of Jepara is the centre of furniture production in probably the whole of Indonesia, and Andy, being a native son of the city started to feel the pull stronger and stronger to come back home and apply all that he had learned at university and in his own businesses to that furniture passion of his. Arriving in Jepara with enough money saved Andy immediately started his own furniture business in Garden furniture. A perennial standard in Jepara. Starting as a sub-contractor for some of Jepara’s biggest companies, hotel projects and resort projects soon came into the picture, particularly for the local commercial market. Success in the commercial sector continued with Andy landing bigger and bigger projects until he became partners with the biggest single manufacturer in Jepara, and eventually went on to work there as project manager. All the while continuing his garden furniture production in his own facility. But Andy was not satisfied, his passion for furniture could not be fulfilled producing products that were basically the same as everyone else’s.
It is in 2004 when Rachel&Natalie’s product oriented plan first came to light. Over the past eight years R&N’s products have been developed and refined to the wonderful designs you see displayed on the brands pages on W Home. The R&N design team now consists of foreign and local talents, and Andy himself who give his own final approval to everything that gets prototyped and produced, giving advice along the way as to any improvements that can be made. The Rachel&Natalie Brand, under the firm and educated guidance of Andy, will continue to innovate and push the boundaries in furniture design within Indonesia. Oh, in case you were wondering, the brands name comes from Andy’s two daughters, ages nine and thirteen.