The Oldest Rattan Furniture Maker in Malaysia, Gek Guan, Weaves a Legacy that Transcends Time with Its Handcrafted Pieces

by Candyse

In the southernmost state of Malaysia, there exists a hidden gem of traditional craftsmanship and artistry. Gek Guan, the oldest rattan furniture maker in the country, stands as a testament to its rich heritage and dedication to preserving traditional techniques. Their rattan creations’ beauty and significance are unparalleled. Incorporated as Gek Guan Rattan Furniture (M) Sdn Bhd, the business started from humble beginnings in Muar, Johor in 1954.

History and Legacy of Gek Guan

The company was founded by a Malaysian Chinese man, Tay Wee Kean, who was born in a small village in Muar known as Parit Jawa. Standing strong for almost seven decades, Gek Guan stands as a testament to the enduring art of rattan weaving. Rattan weaving is a meticulous and intricate craft that requires skilled hands and an eye for detail. With meticulous attention to detail, every piece reflects the passion and dedication that has been the backbone of Gek Guan’s success.

Rattan furniture is not only aesthetically pleasing but also boasts numerous practical benefits such as its durability, flexibility, and eco-friendliness. From intricately woven chairs and tables to beautifully crafted baskets and accessories, its range of rattan products available is unparalleled. Each item is a work of art, meticulously handcrafted with precision and care. The natural fibers of rattan are transformed into stunning pieces that exude both elegance and functionality. Currently, the company also has bamboo and wood products that are highly sought after both locally and internationally. Not only does it manufacture its own products, but it is also a wholesaler and retailer that has successfully opened other branches in the country.

Gek Guan’s Rattan and Bamboo Renaissance

While Gek Guan remains loyal to traditional materials, it has also embraced innovation to stay relevant in the modern era. It has ventured into contemporary designs, blending tradition with a touch of modernity. This seamless fusion has sparked a rattan renaissance, capturing the attention of design enthusiasts and interior decorators around the world. Some of its notable projects can be found in Genting Highlands, Maldives, Singapore, Petaling Street, Sweden and Johor.

In fact, if you’ve been to Dolly Dim Sum at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur; Scape Hotel Midhills at Genting Highlands; Muo Resort at Muar; The Hungry Tapir at Petaling Street; Santan and Secret Recipe at MidValley Megamall as well as The Westin Hotel at Desaru Johor, you might have already had the chance to check out and experience its creations in real life. Using natural materials, its products are all one of a kind, as each rattan’s grain is different, so the space will look even more outstanding.

On its website, it showcases the many commercial and residential projects internationally and locally. In addition to having ready-made products such as furniture, home decor items and fixtures, it also provides custom services. This means that you can request a unique piece if needed and the company will help you create the item you want. Each piece of furniture is handcrafted in Malaysia with a lead time of six to eight weeks.

Gek Guan is proud to have years of experience, techniques and the best local materials to provide high-quality rattan and bamboo works of art. Although rattan and bamboo furniture may be seen as old-fashioned, it is thanks to top-quality manufacturers such as Gek Guan that you can see many younger generations embracing these classic materials for their homes and commercial usage. Plus, if you have any old rattan furniture that needs to be revamped, Gek Guan has repair services too.

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on sustainability and eco-consciousness. Gek Guan has been at the forefront of this movement, actively incorporating sustainable practices into their production processes to promote a greener future. With rattan being a fast-growing and renewable resource, it ensures responsible sourcing to minimise environmental impact. Additionally, the company prioritises fair trade and maintains strong relationships with local artisans, empowering them by providing fair wages and safe working conditions in their factory in Muar, Johor where every furniture piece is traditionally handcrafted.

Gek Guan’s legacy as the oldest rattan furniture maker in Malaysia is a testament to its unwavering passion, artistry, and commitment to preserving heritage. Through its unwavering dedication to the art of rattan furniture making, it has not only preserved a cultural heritage but also contributed to the global movement towards sustainable practices. Whether it’s adorning a cosy corner or enhancing a grand space, Gek Guan’s creations are more than just furniture – they are a reflection of a rich cultural heritage that transcends time.

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