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Levantine Furniture

AKBIK Furniture & Design is focused on the exquisite Levantine Furniture, renowned among elite interior designers for its exotic, intricate, and unparalleled beauty. Architects and designers worldwide seek out these one-of-a-kind statement pieces, which are highly coveted for their unique and luxurious qualities.
    Our specialty lies in the production of luxurious Levantine Furniture, which originates from the eastern Mediterranean region of greater Syria, also known as the Levant, extending as far as southern Turkey. The furniture is characterized by its intricate details and amazing designs, which are crafted by small workshops despite the flood of machine-made and mass-produced products in the market. Each piece is individually carved and inlaid, adding to its uniqueness and value. Our furniture is highly sought after by architects and interior designers who appreciate one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
    Indeed, the craft of Levantine furniture-making has a rich historical background. It dates back to the Sumerian city kingdoms, which thrived along the banks of the Euphrates River in the ancient fertile crescent. In fact, some of the earliest inlaid woodwork was discovered in the Royal Palace of Mari and other city kingdoms that date back to the 3rd century B.C. The ancient Egyptians were also famous for producing and importing inlaid furniture and decorative pieces, showcasing the widespread popularity of this craft throughout history.
    In addition to the above, the Phoenician kingdoms were known for their craftsmanship in producing furniture and artifacts using similar techniques of carving and inlay. Many of these pieces can still be admired today at the National Museum of Damascus and the Louvre Museum in Paris.
    The Silk Road played an important role in the trade of materials and crafts, including Levantine/Syrian furniture. The route passed through the eastern Mediterranean region of greater Syria, where the craft was developed and mastered, making it a trade center for such goods.
    The intricate Levantine furniture with carved details and mother of pearl inlays continued to flourish during the early Islamic period and was even exported to Spain through the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. The furniture's unique designs and craftsmanship inspired the creation of similar pieces in Andalusia, where some workshops and factories continue to produce hand-carved and inlaid furniture with the same ancient Levantine and Islamic geometrical and floral designs found in some of the region's ancient buildings.
    In the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire relocated many Levantine artisans from Damascus to Istanbul to expand the furniture industry in the flourishing city, which was vital during the Ottoman Empire's expansion. However, the craft declined in Turkey by the turn of the 20th century while continuing to thrive in Damascus, the ancient and historic capital of Syria, to this day.
    The craftsmen in Damascus and surrounding areas still use a variety of high-quality woods to create stunning furniture pieces in different styles, such as intricate carving, mother-of-pearl inlay, and marquetry. These pieces can be found not only in homes but also in religious buildings like mosques, and they serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of Levantine/Syrian furniture.
    In addition to furniture, Syrian artisans also create other architectural interiors such as ceilings, joinery, doors, and windows. The Levantine or Syrian furniture that we know today is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this craft. The artisans in Damascus, in particular, have mastered this craft over the ages, and their expertise extends beyond just furniture-making.
    The production of Levantine furniture requires a team of skilled artisans with expertise in various areas of the craft. From the design stage to the final production, the artisans must work in harmony to create a masterpiece. The designers must have a deep understanding of the traditional motifs and patterns used in this craft, as well as the ability to create innovative designs that appeal to modern tastes. The craftsmen who cut and shape the wood must have an eye for detail and precision, while the carvers must have the patience and skill to transform the wooden pieces into intricate works of art. The inlay artisans must also have a steady hand and a keen eye for detail, as the mother of pearl pieces must fit seamlessly into the carved designs. It is only through the collaboration of all these artisans that the exquisite Levantine furniture can be produced.
    The final phase of finishing the furniture involves applying numerous coats of varnish, typically made from natural shellac or wood stain, with walnut being a popular choice. This process not only enhances the beauty of the furniture but also protects it from damage and wear. The result is a piece of furniture that is not only visually stunning but also durable and long-lasting.
    Solid walnut is the preferred wood for this craft due to its durability and ability to withstand the test of time, as well as its significant and esteemed value.
    In Damascus, another popular design among artisans is the inlaid marquetry woodwork. The artisan first creates a skeleton of different furniture parts, such as a backgammon board or side table, by cutting the wood. Then, the same carpenter may place a veneer of marquetry into the skeleton frame.
    Despite the fact that similar crafts and pieces are made in neighboring countries, and even as far as Morocco and Spain, Damascus still produces the highest quality pieces using the best materials. While ancient artisans used shells and mother of pearl from the Euphrates, today imported mother of pearl from the Pacific, particularly from the Philippines, is used as it has superior quality and iridescence.
    While we at Akbik offer various lines of furniture and design our own pieces, our specialty remains traditional Levantine furniture. We take pride in our extensive experience in both manufacturing and selling this unique style of furniture not only in the American market but also worldwide.

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