Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Golden Arts and Furnishing: This is Functional Art

A group of doctors visited the Association of Negros Producers Showroom at Robinsons Place Bacolod Citywalk.  After inspecting the beautifully crafted items on display, one well-groomed lady doctor pointed to some folding tables leaning by the display window.  The tables were narrow (hence, space-savers), not heavy, and were smartly designed.  “I’ll take four,” said the guest without batting a mascara-ed eyelash and, most probably, neither did the sales lady’s.  

The “Jaime” is one of The Showroom’s popular items so the sales lady must not have been surprised.  It is a 14”(W) x 20”(L) x 24”(H) foldable table one takes out for unexpected guests who would appreciate things of beauty.  Although it is conveniently slim and stores well without taking up space, its lucky owner would probably want to unfold it permanently and show it off in all its handmade glory.  In 2015, an average of 20 Jaime’s were sold per month at an inglorious price of P2,850 each. And who is Jaime?
The Jaime is named after its creator, Jaime Chan, who, in 1984 put up Golden Furnishing after working for 15 years at the biggest furniture shop in Bacolod City.  His duties at that furniture shop included being janitor, driver, messenger, salesman and wallpaper installer.  His humble but honorable work did not prevent him from pursuinga college degree in Commerce.  His Accounting major background would serve him well as a future entrepreneur.  Golden Furnishing produced home furnishing made with indigenous, organic materials initially rattan. His products include tabletop items such as bowls, vases, trays, placemats, coasters, and, of course, his  namesake folding table that is joined by its bigger siblings in 3 sizes and their round and hexagonal cousins in 24” dia. X 24” H. 

In 1991, Golden Furnishing joined the roster of producers of ANP and Mr. Chan attended various trainings and seminars and was even able to join the CITEM where his business attracted the European buyers.  It was as an ANP member that Mr. Chan conceptualized the incorporation of indigenous materials in his designs.  It is incredible to see how materials such as capiz shell, coconut twigs and shell, Chinese bamboo, jungle vines, coconut lumber, and even the unusual banana bark and cassava stalk are given special treatment to create fantastic pieces of functional art.  

The business grew big enough to employ 220 employees to fill a huge demand for his artisanal products in the export market.  In 2010, the company experienced setbacks in the wake of the global crisis that caused it to lose foreign clients and reduce its workforce to 10 regular workers.  Resurrected as Golden Arts and Furnishing in 2014 under the helm of the new owner, Jaime’s sonJeffy Chan, the latter realizes the need to bring in more domestic or local buyers to   make Negros’ handicraft businesses sustainable.It will not be difficult in getting the locals to appreciate the excellent work Golden Arts and Furnishing does.  After all, art is  wonderful, while function makes it priceless.  

31st Negros Trade Fair "One Sweet Spot"
September 14-16, 2016, 
Glorietta Mall, Makati

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The Negros Trade Fair is the longest running provincial trade fair in the Philippines held annually in Metro Manila since 1985.

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