Westminster Teak furniture is designed in Florida by corporate vice president Mal Haddad and made in Indonesia. The company runs its own teak-harvesting plantation and a factory that employs 2,000 people. Yesterday, A+A interviewed Mal and Frederick Fluchel, vice president of sales and marketing by phone:
Where do you find your inspiration?
It comes from anywhere, but not other designers – though they’re a big part of it. You need to know who’s who and what’s going on. I’m a student of engineering and good design. The best comes when you least expect it, like the back or a Porsche or a pair of eyeglasses – it could look good as part of one of our tables.
Your source for materials?
We focus mainly on teak. The owner is obsessed with teak. We branch out some, but maintain we a central focus on teak. It’s from Indonesia, and becoming more and more expensive. Fewer people can afford it, but they’re getting wealthier.
Your target market?
Our trade division is dedicated to accommodate upscale resorts. But we also have a retail customer who’s affluent and making from $200,000 to $400,000 a year. They’re 55 and up, baby boomers really, and they’re driving us. They’re not using interior designers, but we do have interior designer clients as well. And hotels with 300 rooms that need the kind of furniture we produce.
I don’t think there’s a product that’s greener coming from a plantation. We are green from the factory floor level, and FSC certified. All employees have lunch with organic vegetables from the plantation. That’s 2,000 people. The kitchen gets vegetable from the plantation and surrounding area. The factory handles growing and consuming all the food. There are cattle, fish and chicken too.
Relatively speaking, we are not in the economy range. It’s more the upper mid-level range.
The only challenge is a fully staffed office in Indonesia. I do the design concept here and there’s a CAD office there, and when the prototypes are ready I go there and look at them. Everything’s from one factory, from start to finish. It’s single source.
Range of uses?
We kept some of the traditional British Colonial look, like the folding chairs, but I come up with designs that are more contemporary looks – pieces that are not looking like outdoor furniture. The Horizon line can go indoor and outdoor, and Maya also. We range from outdoor furniture to bathrooms an spas.
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