How It Began
In 1991, four craftsmen, a rented garage and the faith that furniture designs still have a lot to be desired, we began. With a large response from abroad, we today offer delivery at any port or even your doorstep. To view our more than three hundred designs we would be pleased to share ideas at any of our showrooms in Pakistan, UAE, Oman, or USA.
Since its founding in 1991, Kalamkaar has grown from a workshop housed in a rented garage to Pakistan’s leading furniture design company. With showrooms and representatives in five countries, and an export figure of $500,000 in 2015-2016, the company’s global success is owed to its design philosophy: proudly original, distinct and unique.
The four-acre head office in Lahore offers furniture design, manufacture and interior design facilities. A team of 300 craftsmen in the workshop and forty office staff members keeps things running smoothly in the 1000 flagship showroom onsite.
Export is the company’s specialty, with xxxx houses furnished to date in the UK, USA, Australia and Gulf states. With complete export quality certification, including ISO 9001, Kalamkaar’s Export Department handles forwarding and shipping in its entirety to ensure safe and hassle-free doorstep delivery for every single order, no matter where the destination.
Company operations were expanded in 2013 with the introduction of a bespoke fabric line, with customizable surface designs applied to fabrics ranging from imported suedes to local handspun khadis.
As one of the few major Pakistani companies representing original, homegrown design internationally by exporting and stocking under its own name, Kalamkaar was awarded the Best Export Brand Trophy by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2016.
A portion of revenue is directed to the company’s Urban Replantation Project, distributing local species of saplings such as mango and tulsi in the city for free. Since the inception of the programme four years ago, hundreds of thousands of saplings have been planted in schools, hospitals, offices, and along roadsides in Lahore. Saplings are available at the head office in Lahore and are delivered on order too.
Sectors the company has worked with range from hospitality, government and military, to corporate offices. Noted clients include The State Bank of Pakistan, Royal Palm Golf and Country Club, and ARY Digital.
Creativity Comes To Life
In 1991, Quais Rehman started a small scale workshop of 1.5 kanals (1 kanal= 506 square metres) on Waris Road, Lahore with four craftsmen: two carpenters and two finishers. Quais Rehman says he had no design background but he had the spark and the interest so he started his work as a furniture designer under the name of “Kalamkaar”.
Kalam is the Urdu term for a straight chisel; a tool used for wood carving. Quais selected this name for his furniture workshop for various reasons. He said “the word sounds nice and is representing what we are. Kalamkaar is not all about wooden furniture but we use iron, fiberglass, brass and a combination of all these materials for materializing our design idea.”
Defining design he said, “A good design stimulates all the five senses of the beholder and I believe that both the visual and functional aspects are important and out of these two, I place more emphasis on the visual aspect. Currently showrooms of Kalamkaar are in Karachi, two stations in Lahore, Toronto, New Jersey, Dubai and United Kingdom. “People all over the world know us by our furniture designs and the wood we use and our country furniture is known as rosewood furniture all over the world. With the popularity of Kalamkaar in the international market, our furniture industry has grown.”
Kalamkaar is inspired by the local culture and Indus Valley art and aims to modernize the traditional designs of Pakistan. “An aesthetic eye can find the history from the Indus Valley civilization to the present day in our designs.” He shared his emotional attachment with the furniture displayed in his showroom, “I usually feel bad when I have to part with a furniture item but appreciation makes me happy and replaces that grief and some new creative idea keeps me going.”
Kalamkaar is based on one workshop from where furniture has been made and exported. The workshop is run by some 200-250 craftsmen. Quais said “We have the best craftsmen of the world in Pakistan and they work hard for materializing the designer’s dream.” Talking about corporate social responsibility he said, “We are growing trees in a small forest in our factory and we encourage people to plant trees which are the most important element of our environment, they make the environment healthy.”
Kalamkaar has a big workshop in Lahore divided into three parts. One part is based on carpentry work, the second is based on carving and the third, furnishing. And everywhere there are trees planted by Kalamkaar and at the end there is a big forge where wood is kept at very high temperatures to make it stronger and ready for carving.
Quais is determined to make the position of Kalamkaar stronger in the international market. “We want to grow as the best furniture company of the world with our brand name. When we grow, many others in the same industry grow automatically as the name of Pakistan comes to mind when people think of Kalamkaar and automatically they welcome other Pakistani furniture too,” he said, sitting on a beautiful black and white sofa.