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Furnish for a Cause

Furnishing for a Cause

When the crew at Cooper Island Beach Club thinks renovation, they first think about the environment. The resort has set its sights high on becoming entirely dependent on alternative sources of energy, while upholding high sustainability standards in every facet of their work. So when Arawak’s Roy Keegan presented them with a furniture line that promotes both community growth and environmental regeneration, they jumped on the opportunity to invest in the cause.    


On Roy’s most recent venture to Indonesia, he was introduced to a company working through a non-profit foundation called Trees4Trees. The programme empowers local Indonesian communities to thrive on an innovative and burgeoning furniture business that has forged partnerships with responsible local furniture manufacturers and their customers, like Arawak. The foundation distributes free seedlings of high value species, including teak, mahogany and mango, to local farmers and resident landowners in impoverished areas of Indonesia. In turn, community members are taught to farm and manufacture fine furniture pieces later sold all over the world—like here in the BVI, exclusively at Arawak. Also, the organisation uses entirely reclaimed wood—and every time a piece of furniture is sold, the foundation plants another tree among its fields.
I sat in one of five newly renovated rooms at Cooper Island Resort, where I spoke with Manager Sam Baker about her choice to choose Arawak to helm their remodeling project, which aims to refurbish the entire resort—ten rooms total. “Simple,” she responded. “The Trees4Trees organization just fits with the philosophy of Cooper Island. … Meeting with Roy on this was simply a meeting of the minds.”
Arawak provided Sam with solid teak bedframes, dressers, nightstands and daybeds, stained in what Roy described as a “Tobacco colour, like a nice piece of driftwood washed up on the beach that has been weathered by the elements into a nice silver-grey weathered look.”
The tough, refurbished wood will stand the tests of time and mature well to fit in with its beachside surroundings, while standing up nature’s wrath, Roy explained. Eventually, the “functional” wood, as he described it, would age into a ripe colour and texture only achieved through time, like the reclaimed wood he also used to deck out the beach club’s restaurant and bar.
“It blends in with what people are looking for—a beachside look,” Sam agreed. “So we had [the wood] stained to give it that feel—and can’t wait to see where it goes from there.”


Sam took me over to have a look at a room—built and furnished in the early 90s—that hadn’t yet been reconstructed or refurbished by Arawak to match the simple and refreshing design to which I had first been introduced. The bright whites and common Caribbean pinks were in stark contrast to the smooth and subtle teaks and natural linens representing the new image of the resort. It’s a transformation Sam said she could be proud of, “Because now I show people around and get loud ‘Wows!’ instead of “OK, this is nice’.” Sam said she looks forward to watching as the furniture shows signs of uniquely weathering with the elements that only a warm Caribbean sun and wet tropical rains can provide.

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