Lamu Industries: The Bold and the Beautiful
Nominated for a Luxist Award in the furniture category, is Lamu Industries, a Catskill, N.Y.-based firm known for its hand-crafted solid wood armories, beds, chairs and consoles, in addition to a wide variety of tables, including coffee, conference, library and dining tables.
Each of Lamu Industries' pieces are hand-carved by local craftsmen who live on the East African island of Lamu, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Kenya. Every piece is carved from indigenous "mbambakofi", a hardwood that is a member of the mahogany family of woods. The cutting down of mbambakofi trees is regulated by the Kenyan Government and for every tree cut, two new ones must be planted on the island. "Our tables have a feel of masculine majesty and a seeming provenance of European Renaissance," says Lamu Industries owner, Bo van den Assum.
Unlike most other furniture pieces which are made with a lesser quality soft wood covered by a thin veneer of a fine wood, each piece in Lamu Industries' collection is made of solid mbambakofi. No veneers here. van den Assum explains that a disadvantage to a piece made with a veneer is that over time it may begin to warp, buckle or even bubble up due to humidity or wet conditions. A solid wood piece will continue to absorb the elements of its environment and the fibers of the wood are receptors of the air surrounding it, he says. In a dry environment, the wood will likely shrink, while in a humid environment, it will expand. Over time, cracks may appear in the wood, however the crack may give the piece an antique look, perhaps even more character, van den Assum adds. Lamu Industries tables are constructed to minimize damage caused by humidity fluctuations.
The legs of each table are typically massive, and can be up to eight inches in diameter. Like the rest of the table, they, too, are made of sold wood. Each leg is carved from tree trunks that have been turned on a lathe and carved by hand by one of Lamu Industries' talented carvers.
Each Lamu Industries table is dated, numbered and signed. Made to order pieces are also available, and the company will even have your family crest or initials carved into a special order without additional charge.
Retail prices range from $3,000 for a small coffee table to $11,000 for a ten foot magnificent solid dining table. Specific orders require about four months delivery inclusive of the ocean voyage from East Africa. Pieces can be delivered immediately from Lamu Industries' current stock.