KINTA ON TOUR
Mostly our visits to our suppliers do not leave any time over for touristic activities. But this time was an exception: we spent a weekend visiting Hundreds Islands National Park. It is a beautifull and very popular spot in Northern Luzon (Philippines). You sail in a small boat from island to island and may be lucky to find an island where you can be on your own for a couple of hours.
We passed a sea salt production site infront of Hundreds Islands National Park. There was hundreds of shallow ponds, where the white crystal salt, appeared after a hot days sun burning. In the last hours of light it was scraped together.
Our new supplier of glassware has a workshop outside Bangkok. The rural area, where it was founded more than 40 years ago, have become an urban area. The family owned business has a small temple that the employees can make use of.
Thai-food is famous for its delicious street food with noodles, curry and coconut. However, you can also buy cockroaches and mealworms in small street stalls.
Together with our supplier, we have developed candleholders in new shapes; the snake (inspired by the local cobra) and sandglass. Malou and Nicoline are checking the new shapes. They look perfect and will get a Kinta color in the next step.
In preparation for the spring 2019 collection Lorna and her team has made several paper-mache experiments, to try out new techniques. The experiments themselves are like small landscape paintings, that immediately make us happy. Balou explanes to Arianne how the samples were made. Balou is the number 1 creative guy in Lorna’s team.
Drugs are a big problem on the Philippines. Government and companies are trying to do their best to fight the problem. However, it seems as even at the primary school it is needed to exclaim that drugs are forbidden. This is done with large signs: ‘THIS IS A DRUGS FREE ZONE AREA’.
For Malou and us it’s important to be able to follow the production process. Nicoline has made a handy Excel tool for this purpose. It’s a pretty complex process, so the tool needs some explanation. But in the end this will make it easier for everyone.
Arianne is explained all the steps in the production of the painted bowls. When the bowl is dry, sanded and ready for the final finish – it will still undergo several stages with filler, primer and sanding before the final paint can be applied. It is a quite tedious process.
On the countryside we saw many people (young and old) looking for onions in a field. The farmer has recently harvested, but there are still enough onions left behind. Nothing is lost, the locals pick up all the leftover onions.
Outside (in front of Malou’s house) bowls are piled up waiting for a dead flat finish. Bowls of which none is the same due to the beautiful acacia pattern. The pink wall creates a sunny filipino atmosphere.
During our visit we saw the ceramics coming out of the gigantic oven. They are baked at a high temperature (1250℃). Interesting to know is that the location in the oven affects the color of the ceramics.
We visited Malou, who has been in charge of our wood production for over ten years now. Woodworking is an intensive process and a key element in this process is the drying of the wood. Malou has built a new, modern work place completely geared towards quality improvement. Only the outside of the building still refers to its previous function: an old chicken farm.
Inside everything had to be rebuilt, including a whole new roofed sanding area. The pedestals for the new machines have already been placed, as you can see in the picture.
In this picture, Malou explains to us how the new wood drying room including the “snake” will work.
The new work space will include all modern facilities. Here the new sanitary units are being built.
Not only “snakes” for drying can be found on the new site. When it was still a chicken farm, the area was covered with banana trees. Philippine cobra snakes like the cool shade the banana trees provide. Even though the workers enjoy snake on the menu every now and then, after finding the third snake, they decided to cut down all trees.
Taking a taxi (Grab or Uber) in Vietnam does not automatically mean being transported by car.
Mid April is midsummer in the Philippines. The temperature rises regularly to 40 ℃. The laundry is done on Saturday.
Not just clothes are washed. Also, the Philippines take a bath on Saturday. Great fun. And there are two flies in one slap: the flooding water runs straight into the rice field.
Help!! What color did I have in mind? There is so much to think about when new product collection are being developed. I really need to keep the head cool. Now I know again: it was blue. Or purple. No green then, or anyway…
On a bed of wood chips. Nothing will sleep softer than that. And my boss is just working. “Please continue turning and see you later.”
With their cheerful, bright colours they liven up the streets of Manila (and Cebu), but these jeepneys cause a lot of smog and traffic jams in this already desperate traffic chaos.
By Philippine standards Frans, with his 6.2 feet, is very tall.
The financial department of this supplier very much wanted to be photographed with this giant from Holland.
Staff at our hotel in Manila was immensely proud of their gym. We thought that their equipment wouldn’t have been out of place in a medieval torture chamber.
Noma, the Danish restaurant, for years voted the world’s best restaurant, serves live ants in the dessert. On the Philippines ants are thought to bring you good luck. You shouldn’t be surprised if you find a swarm of ants walking on your fruit by way of delicacy. If they think it’s sweet enough, it is sweet enough. Enjoy your meal.
Having a wonderful meal with the administrative and production managers of one of our wood producers at Luzon.
Fish, fresh vegetables and fruit. The Filipinos are great cooks and we are always taken good care of when we visit them.
Travel tip: Tell everybody: The very best mangos are grown in the Philippines.
Our furniture is often made from what we call ‘reclaimed wood’. Old window- and doorframes can be very well used for this. We always design them in close cooperation with the wood workshop. There they know best what the possibilities are. Here I am working on the production of a prototype.
In Hanoi you’ll find the best food on the streets among the motor scooters and the always busy traffic.
Surrounded by a thousand other potteries in Bat Trang near Hanoi after a long search we discovered an old family business. Their eighth generation is now going to produce our new ceramics line. Old, but modern: they completely work on the basis of the principle of fair trade.
And suddenly you find yourself in a Philippine workshop between the clotheslines.
The wood is processed while it is still very wet. Therefore it is very important that the products are thoroughly dried before they are finished and packed. For this a drying kiln is needed. It is used several times during the production process.
Packing the orders requires constant attention. It is essential that nothing is packed when it is raining or the atmosphere is too humid. There is the danger of moisture during overseas transport in the boxes. This results in mold and we want to prevent this at any cost.
December 2014. In this photo you see three Delft students, winners of the Fairmind competition award for the best design of Table accessories made of acacia wood, organised by the Dutch Association of World Shops. Together with Kinta the students visit the workplace where the final prototype of their design was produced. Here they are shown around by our Philippine designer.
Travellers on this local bus have a good view of the winning design, here on view at the workplace. The students were very happy with the final ‘look’ of their bowl, which they named ‘Rowl’. It is part of the Kinta collection now.
Nicoline: ‘Hey, why is this box still empty?’ Production planning is often a problem. We were very happy to find that our wood producer has introduced a ‘production monitoring system’ at our suggestion. Everyone at the workplace can now follow the status of a production order. A remarkable step forward.
The wood which has just been delivered is measured together with the supplier to determine the price.
After 300 years domination by Spain, the Philippines came into American hands in 1898. A US governor wanted that all streets were planted with acacias. This determines until today the street scene.
The trees provide shade and style. The fast-growing trees are also planted by the locals along roads as an investment for the future. This is capitalized if the government has given permission for the felling of the tree by a certified wood trader.
This picture says it all. One of the beautiful beaches on the Philippines.
Capiz is a frequently found shell in the Philippine sea. Its use in old houses for windows, for example, is an age old tradition. It is also used in various handicrafts. Kinta has several capiz lines in its range of products. We even make Christmas trees of the raw material.
The Capiz shell is translucent and therefore very suitable for the production of lamps. On Cebu several workplaces are specialized in Capiz lamps. The shells are laced or sewn together with nylon thread. Don’t be surprised if in a restaurant or in your hotel room you find yourself bathing in the light of a huge chandelier made of Capiz.
The Philippines are often struck by natural disasters such as typhoons and volcanic eruptions.
The church in San Fernando was for the most part buried under volcanic ashes after an eruption of the Pinatubo in 1991. The people have grown used to these eruptions over the years, but somehow they have also become stronger.
The Filipinos are cheerful people who prefer to work in a relaxed atmosphere.
Nicoline: If I remember correctly, I’m being laughed at by the men of the production section. I probably offered a totally impossible suggestion.
A local market somewhere on the Philippines: rice, rice and rice once again.