Nath Geluz, furniture designer and founder of local custom furniture maker DEKKO, and his creations are well-loved by his customers. “DEKKO never fails to bring my designs to life,” says client Mark Ngo on DEKKO’s Facebook page. “The woodwork is very good! My TV console was exactly how I imagined it to be,” another customer, Alarice Yang, says. “I love how unique our shelf is because it’s made by local makers,” gushes another client, Madeleine Sablada.
The local makers she is referring to is Nath and his team of out-of-school youth from Imus, Cavite. When Nath launched DEKKO in 2016, he handpicked these kids, personally trained them in woodworking, and eventually turned them into artisans who could create wood furniture by hand. And so for four years now, Nath has not just been giving a group of kids a new lease on life; he’s also been enriching the landscape of local-made furniture.
Starting small, staying true
Nath did not get his training in woodworking and business in the furniture industry, however. He got it at weddings.
“A few years ago, we were [part of] the wedding industry, offering handmade styling services,” says Nath. “I [built] custom tables, backdrops, and wooden props for styling [at the wedding site].”
The couples that Nath built these pieces for liked them. So much so that after the wedding, many of them asked him to continue building custom-made pieces. This time, for their home. “We started posting our custom pieces online,” says Nath. “After getting inquiries and referrals, we decided to pursue woodworking as a business. And DEKKO was born.”
Nath put up DEKKO as a one-stop shop for custom-made furniture. His clients approach him with a home design need—for instance, storage space. Nath and his team then give their expert opinion on the type of wood to use, the stability of the potential design, its usability, and ergonomics. They come up with a versatile design that reflects the client’s requirements and the natural texture of the wood they will be working with. The process ends upon delivery.
All DEKKO pieces are custom-made and handcrafted; there are no two pieces exactly alike. They are built using sustainable wood—either recycled from old wooden furniture or harvested from eco-friendly forests.
“We’re proud that each piece we put out has been painstakingly perfected by an artisan,” says Nath. “We are focused on the natural beauty and texture of the wood. So we highlight a specific character of the wood [while building] according to our clients’ needs, therefore creating a piece [that has] value for our clients. We believe that by staying small, we can preserve this approach in custom furniture making.”
A market craving for local furniture
It is gratifying to note that the buy-local movement has extended to furniture as well. “We’re emboldened by how people are more open now to handmade [crafts],” says Nath. “Appreciation for locally made handcrafted products is more common in the Philippines today, too.”
This sentiment does show, especially in DEKKO’s steady stream of clientele. Apparently, the tendency toward anything organic—especially if it’s in DEKKO’s modern industrial look—is popular among Filipino homeowners.
“Today’s landscape is focused mostly on sustainability, [being] organic and [having] clean lines which we are absolutely on board with,” says Nath.
Pushed by their passion, Nath and his team’s mission is clear: “We create furniture that is to be used and loved for many years. These [pieces] act as a foundation for a simpler and more meaningful life.”
A versatile home
Take it from the furniture designer and maker: there are four pieces of versatile furniture that Filipino households would do well to own:
- A wood-and-steel table. “We specialize in this; it’s the best piece of furniture to invest on because we Filipinos love to eat and gather together,” says Nath. Thus, the need for a sturdy, attractive table that can withstand years of use.
- Shelves. “Some of the smartest multi-use pieces of furniture you can splurge on are shelves,” says Nath. They can serve as storage, display cases, and consoles for entertainment appliances.
- A bench. This can act either as additional seating or a table.
- Stools. Apart from sitting on, stools can also be used as plant stands, bedside tables, or even alternative book “shelves.”
Avida Land develops properties that are, like DEKKO’s creations, aimed at giving people a simple and more meaningful life. Visit any showroom today to find property designed especially for you.
All photos courtesy of Nath Geluz.