Home Chennai Artistry with hyacinths

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Cane O Cane adds a new range of furniture that makes best use of the weed

IT’S EASY to miss this tiny store on the busy East Coast Road. But at Cane O Cane, R Narendran has almost 15 people working under him—fashioning furniture out of cane, water hyacinth and bamboo. Started in 2010, the store offers furniture— like sofa sets, dinner tables and garden furniture—and home décor like boxes. For those who like intricate designs, Narendran also does some cane weaving. Quite the inventor, he recently designed his own handloom machine for weaving cane strips. “My bamboo furniture comes from Assam so I started a unit there with three workers. I saw people using machines for wooden furniture and designed my own machine,” he says.

furniture18Why the interest in furniture? “My uncle had a furniture store in Anna Nagar, but it shut. I trained under him and then I started this one,” says the Chennai native. Besides ordering from a catalogue (which boasts of Japanese designs), one can customise furniture. “I had a French client who wanted a wooden easy chair and a cot with cane weaving,” says Narendran, who learnt six languages through his clients.

“I  have worked in Europe and Sri Lanka and have French and Telugu clients, so I learnt the language.” Nothing seems impossible for the 40-year-old, who sources water hyacinth from local ponds in Neelankarai. “We get about 20 kilos of the weed with which we can make one sofa set and one chair. These are more expensive.” But he reassures us that the furniture is low maintenance. “Regular dusting and cleaning is enough. But don’t expose the furniture to the elements,” he concludes

A bamboo sofa set costs from Rs. 15,000 onwards. The water hyacinth furniture costs Rs. 40,000 onwards. Details: 64548882

 -Mrinalini Sundar

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