Old-world charm and new hope in Vadakara’s antique stores

Treasure troves:  Antique furniture shops at Vadakara receive buyers from different parts  of Kerala.

Treasure troves: Antique furniture shops at Vadakara receive buyers from different parts of Kerala.

For new generation fans of traditional architecture, a piece of antique furniture is often a prized possession. Little wonder that connoisseurs are ready to shell out extra to pick the best piece that strikes their eyes. In Vadakara, the trend is rekindling the hopes of antique furniture traders.

The traders at the exclusive antique shops on Beach Road here say they get buyers from different parts of Kerala. Many of those who visit the shops have an eye for uniquely designed pieces which the traders have managed to secure from various South Indian States.

“Selling vintage items is not a cakewalk now as the buyers are well aware of the antique value of each item they choose. Presence of fake products in the market has made them alert and only genuine traders with some love towards tradition and fair trade can actually survive,” says K. Zubair, owner of an antique furniture shop at Vadakara. He says the spread of Internet has given a fresh lease of life to the trade, whereby buyers and sellers can connect easily.

Though the list of items varies in each shop, the top pick for most shoppers are wooden chairs with unique carvings and designs. Even a medium-sized rocking chair or an armchair has admirers aplenty. There are also teak wardrobes and antique cots worth ₹1 lakh, which are usually grabbed by heritage hotel entrepreneurs.

Mr. Zubair says the rarest pieces of furniture that he recently added to his collection are those he got from dismantled houses in Mangaluru and Chennai. “Like us, the sellers too are aware of the value of antiques and its market. The challenge before us is to refurbish the old items without losing their original charm and present it in such a way to suit modern homes,” he adds.

Migrant workers

As shortage of native carpenters continues to be a challenge for many in the field, migrant labourers are roped in for the restoration work. Many skilled migrant carpenters are now staying back in Vadakara to explore opportunities in the sector. The traders also attest that they meet the expectations in giving finishing touches to the antique pieces.

“Though modular furniture items with antique finish are readily available in the market, it hardly satiates those who actually hunt for original teak or rosewood pieces,” says V. Manaf, another entrepreneur. He says the resale value of genuine products and their unparalleled design elements keep the industry going even during times of crisis.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 12:41:40 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/old-world-charm-and-new-hope-in-vadakaras-antique-stores/article30333273.ece