FOR MOST EXPATS, life in Malaysia is transient; a few years here, and then off on the next adventure. While memories and photos are decent ways to take a little of this country with you, a nicer way is to have something that will last, something that you will use, and that will always remind you of the place you bought it.
Lasting Impressions seems an apt name for a business that delivers just that; Chinese furniture, both old and new, that is charming to admire but made to be used and strong enough to be durable. The family behind these four stores spread around the Klang Valley certainly boast a similarly long-lasting legacy, having been in the industry long before they formed Lasting Impressions back in 1991.
The years of experience have enabled them to reach the position they have long striven for; being able to source gorgeous old furniture from China, restore it to a dizzying level of shine, and transport it to Malaysia to adorn the homes of those educated enough to see the value in furniture that will continue to stand the test of time.
The cupboards, tables, cabinets, and various other pieces that nudge for elbow room in the stores evoke that Oriental style of old China, and the Ming pieces in particular – dark, plain wood that seems effortlessly classy – are worth attention. Considering the effort involved in sourcing, restoring and shipping these antique, unique pieces, they are affordable and can cater for all budgets: prices range from a few hundred ringgit to over RM10,000.
The modern pieces emulate the Asian style of the older ones – they are designed by the family themselves – and serve to complement the traditional furniture in a perfectly judged blend of old and new. Jonathan, the young face of the family who leads me around the store in Kota Damansara, seems to bounce as he runs his hands over the pieces, slides open drawers, and stresses the importance of the pieces they sell.
“So many people buy cheap furniture that they just throw away,” he tuts. “That is such a waste. This furniture is durable, its usable. I meet people who come in to buy pieces because they remember something similar in their parents’ house, their grandparents’ house; they know that these things last and will never go out of fashion.”
He also recalls phone calls from expats who have returned to their homelands with regrets at not buying the furniture they fell in love with during their time in Malaysia. “We can sort out all the shipping for people,” he stresses, “so expats must get things when they see them.”
Many expats looking for original, Asian pieces get entranced by the “tourist furniture” that may look charming, but just doesn’t last. The authentic furniture in Lasting Impressions has imperfections that are reassuringly real. These pieces bear the consequences of time yet are restored to such a standard that they will continue to do their duty for the generations to come with the same grace and beauty.
“We insist on high quality and on thorough restoration as we want to give the customers the best we can,” Jonathan tells me ÿrmly.”We have also built up a good relationship with the craftsmen involved, so we understand the process and the art of what they do.” Jonathan and his team strive to educate customers on the items they are interested in, as well being on hand to explain which era (if they are not new) and from which region they have come from.
Jonathan’s passion, and the evident enthusiasm of his family, is infectious, and stepping in among these gorgeous treasures made me long for my cheque book. Reassurance comes in knowing that impulsive decisions are still smart ones in
Lasting Impressions; that coveted dining table, already hundreds of years old, will survive to hold up meals of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to come, yet never lose its splendour.
2 Jalan PJU 3/47
Sunway Damansara Technology Park
Tel: 03.7806 1491
Open: Mon Sat 11am-7pm
Level 1, Hock Choon Supermarket
241 Jalan Ampang
Tel: 03.2141 0301
Open: Mon Sat 9.30am-7pm
Level 2, Bangsar Village II
Jalan Telawi Satu
Tel: 03.2287 3201
Open: daily 10am-10pm
Level 2, Great Eastern Mall
303 Jalan Ampang
Tel: 03.4253 4903
Open: daily 10am-9pm
Source: The Expat September 2012
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