We highlight homegrown furniture brands driven by creativity and passion.
A subsidiary of homegrown furniture manufacturer Koda Group of Companies, Commune was launched in 2011 by brothers Julian and Joshua Koh, and their cousin Gan Shee Wen. The trio had a vision and passion for showcasing original designs from Singapore and what Singapore designers could do.
The brand aims to push traditional boundaries of furniture design by catering to styles ranging from the rock star bachelor’s pad to the Scandinavian abode. In addition, Commune stresses on sustainability by using eco-conscious timber from sustainable sources and environmentally-friendly products for manufacturing. In addition to its stores in Singapore, it now has over 50 stores in China, and outlets in Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Australia.
Founder Velma Manoharan set up the lifestyle concept store, Nid D’oiseaux (say “need-dwa-zoh”), with the mission of supporting and promoting the artisan movement since its founding in 2016. A French word for birdnest, it retails objects of art brought back from all over the globe. Over time, she observed “a void in the local furniture market for charming and adaptable pieces”. In September 2018, she launched Naturalis Historia, designed locally and manufactured in Java, Indonesia.
Finding inspirations from nature and the old world, the brand produces furniture with reclaimed teak and brass, as well as customises lampshades and provide after-sales service to stain, colour wash or refinish the wood. Naturalis Historia is available exclusively at Nid D’oiseaux.
Roger&Sons is as a continuation of a father’s trade. At the helm of this boutique carpentry firm is Morgan Yeo, who took over the family business after his father Roger was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He now runs it with his two brothers, Lincoln and Ryan, who are the creative director and ops director respectively.
Since 2015, the company was given a new name as a tribute to their late father and brought on a new direction towards customised carpentry. They continue working with the same team that worked with their father. An initiative is The Local Tree project. It’s a long-term project where Roger&Sons works with local trees such as khaya, angsana and tembusu that have been felled to make way for development. Aside from educating the public on how things are made, the company also runs workshops that aim to accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities.
Triple Eyelid Studio
In his previous work as an interior designer in the commercial and hospitality sector, Jackie Tan noticed a constant supply of pallet wood and other industrial waste materials. He was inspired by the idea of upcycling them. Trained in interior design and environmental design, he decided to combine his passion for design, furniture and the environment by establishing Triple Eyelid Studio.
The company produces bespoke upcycled furniture and product designs made of materials like discarded pallets. Since its launch in 2014, it has upcycled almost 10 tonnes of waste pallets each year, transforming the pieces such that they no longer resemble the reclaimed materials. In addition to furniture-making workshops, the studio runs sharing sessions with children and young adults on environmental sustainability from a design and business perspective.
Scene Shang was founded in 2013 by Pamela Ting and Jessica Wong, who combined their business background and architecture training respectively to create its distinct East-meets-West furniture and product designs. Having worked in Shanghai, the duo was fascinated by the city’s design influences and saw parallels yet meaningful differences in Singapore.
The company, founded in Shanghai, is now based in Singapore. Inspired by the Art Deco style of 1930s Shanghai, they have created a brand that reflects their culture and heritage with a contemporary perspective. Scene Shang works with traditional artisans from Asia to craft heirloom-worthy pieces, winning design awards in Singapore and Italy along the way.