Families in Hawaii have a long tradition of owning solid Koa furniture. When made by fine craftsmen, Koa furniture lasts a lifetime. More importantly, the best Koa has a beautiful curly grain and the colorful, highly figured patterns that have been admired for centuries.
After all, Koa is the beautiful hardwood that grows only in Hawaii. It is the wood that King Kamehameha, the Great used for canoes and weapons to unite the Hawaiian Islands. Famous surfers like Duke Kahanamoku used Koa surfboards off Waikiki Beach. The Hawaiian monarchs like Queen Lili’uokalani and King David Kalakaua prized Koa and owned furniture and personal belongings made with this gracious Hawaiian wood.
One of the most well-known pieces of Koa furniture is the Clef Bench, designed by Big Island craftsman Henry Weeks for Queen Lili’uokalani. Weeks was aware of the Queen’s love of music and created a solid Koa bench with a graceful curved back inspired by the shape of the treble clef. The Queen’s original clef bench is on display in Washington Place. Martin & MacArthur, the fine furniture maker of Hawaii, has been making exact reproductions of this original piece for gracious homes worldwide.
Queen Lili’uokalani also owned a Koa rocking chair that she was often seen using. This rocking chair had beautifully caved back rest slats and was made with deep rich Koa from the Big Island. The Queen’s rocking chair is also on display at Washington Place. Martin & MacArthur designed its Monarch rocking chair based on the fine lines and detail found in the Queen’s own chair.
For over 50 years, Martin & MacArthur has been making fine Koa furniture in Hawaii. With over 30 fine craftsmen working in its Furniture Workshop in Honolulu, Martin & MacArthur is the longest standing furniture maker in the history of Hawaii.