THE ART OF BE­ING

This lit­tle red dot just got a lot brighter, with home- grown ar­chi­tec­tural firm WOHA named De­signer of the Year Asia at the re­cent bian­nual edi­tion of the Mai­son & Ob­jet home fair in Paris. It seized the oc­ca­sion to de­but its new de­sign brand, WOHAbe­ing,

Home & Decor (Singapore) - - Contents -

Home-grown ar­chi­tec­tural firm WOHA was named De­signer of the Year Asia at the re­cent bian­nual edi­tion of the Mai­son & Ob­jet home fair in Paris. It also de­buted its new de­sign brand, WOHAbe­ing, on the in­ter­na­tional de­sign cir­cuit.

Work­ing as ar­chi­tects, mas­ter plan­ners, in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tors and prod­uct de­sign­ers, Sin­ga­pore-based ar­chi­tec­tural agency WOHA has be­come a house­hold name since it was founded by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Has­sell in 1994. Its built projects, rang­ing from apart­ment tow­ers and lux­ury re­sorts, to mass-tran­sit stations and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions across the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion in­clude the Parkroyal on Pick­er­ing ho­tel and office, Oa­sia Ho­tel Down­town, School of the Arts, Church of St. Mary of the An­gels and The Met Bangkok apart­ments.

With de­vel­op­ments cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion in Sin­ga­pore, In­dia, China, Tai­wan, Aus­tralia and In­done­sia, every project is seen as an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate hu­mane and sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ments at all scales that en­hance a sense of com­mu­nity and achieve den­sity yet im­prove amenity.

THE ESSENCE AND SPIRIT OF WOHABE­ING COMES DOWN TO THREE THINGS: CREAT­ING DE­LIGHT, BE­ING THOUGHT­FUL AND BE­ING MEAN­ING­FUL.

While work­ing on var­i­ous schemes over the years, the duo of­ten couldn’t find fur­ni­ture that re­flected the build­ing’s de­sign con­cept and the re­gional cli­mate and lifestyle, so they ended up de­sign­ing the fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories them­selves. This even­tu­ally led to in­creas­ing num­bers of re­quests from the peo­ple who used these ob­jects – of­ten guests at their hos­pi­tal­ity projects – to pur­chase a chair or ta­ble. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing news that they would be con­ferred the Mai­son&Ob­jet Paris De­signer of the Year Asia award last Septem­ber and be given the op­por­tu­nity to show­case their de­signs at the fair, they fi­nally de­cided to take this part of their busi­ness into high gear.

Mun Summ and Richard

launched their new de­sign brand, WOHAbe­ing, at Mai­son & Ob­jet Paris, un­veil­ing six col­lec­tions com­pris­ing 39 items of fur­ni­ture, light­ing, rugs, table­ware and bath­ware, which were de­vel­oped with five part­ners. Four of them are head­quar­tered in Sin­ga­pore – Apaiser bath­room spe­cial­ists, In­dus­try+ ded­i­cated to pro­duc­ing con­tem­po­rary de­sign prod­ucts by Asian cre­atives, fine china brand Luzerne, and The Rug Maker man­u­fac­tur­ing be­spoke car­pets and rugs – while light­ing com­pany Won­der Glass is based in Lon­don. De­sign­ing for a broad au­di­ence, the ar­chi­tects were in­flu­enced by the places and cul­tures they hold dear, and each col­lec­tion show­cases a unique per­son­al­ity.

Richard says: “For us, the essence and spirit of WOHAbe­ing comes down to three things: Creat­ing de­light, be­ing thought­ful and be­ing mean­ing­ful. We want our pieces to put a smile on some­one’s face, to be a de­light­ful ad­di­tion to their space, some­thing that gives peo­ple a good feel­ing when they see it and use it. Thought­ful­ness is some­thing that ap­plies to all as­pects of our ob­jects: The way they are de­signed to be not just aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing, but also com­fort­able, of high qual­ity and durable, and the way they are made from sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als by crafts­men in safe work­ing con­di­tions. Our pieces mean some­thing to us, to the mak­ers that use their craft to pro­duce them, and they find mean­ing when they en­ter peo­ple’s lives and be­come a part of their homes.”

The rus­tic, play­ful and re­fined Bin­tan col­lec­tion, in­spired by the is­land of the same name where WOHA is de­sign­ing a re­sort, fea­tures the Tur­tle chair with dis­tinc­tive flip­per-like legs avail­able in six dif­fer­ent colours and three ver­sions – din­ing chair, easy chair and lounge chair – which may be com­bined with an ottoman, and the Crab se­ries that stands on skinny, splayed metal legs.

Orig­i­nally de­signed for the Alila Vil­las Uluwatu re­sort in Bali and adapted for WOHAbe­ing, the Ulu col­lec­tion of in­door and out­door fur­ni­ture and lamps, with cast stoneware made in Viet­nam by In­dus­try+, echoes the Bukit in Bali, a wild land­scape of cliffs and rugged sa­van­nah. A high­light is the im­pos­ing Ulu Cen­tric round din­ing ta­ble with an in­te­grated Lazy Su­san, whose con­cen­tric ring mo­tif re­sem­bles a gi­ant tree slice.

THE CORAK COL­LEC­TION OF HAND­MADE RUGS DRAWS ON ASIA’S RICH HIS­TORY IN TEX­TILES AND PAT­TERNS.

Named af­ter the San­skrit word for the “glow of a lamp”, the Oli col­lec­tion made in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Won­der Glass, ex­perts in time-hon­oured Vene­tian glass-blow­ing, was in­spired by an­cient Hindu and Bud­dhist sa­cred ge­om­e­try and ar­chi­tec­ture, and con­sists of a con­tem­po­rary mod­u­lar light­ing sys­tem in hand-blown glass and bronze that comes in sin­gle lamp or chan­de­lier ver­sions. As Sin­ga­pore is a trad­ing port, the Sam­pan bath­ware created with Apaiser in In­done­sia trans­poses

the el­e­gant, ta­pered shapes of tra­di­tional small river ves­sels to bright white bath­tubs and van­i­ties re­call­ing origami pa­per boats.

Man­u­fac­tured by The Rug Maker, the Corak col­lec­tion of hand­made rugs (lim­ited to 15 pieces of each de­sign) draws on Asia’s rich his­tory in tex­tiles and pat­terns, na­ture and new ge­ome­tries, such as frac­tals and ape­ri­odic tiling. A favourite of Has­sell’s is the Lau­tan Rug, which is “com­plex and sim­ple at the same time, ges­tu­ral and or­dered, and it has the qual­ity of be­ing in­be­tween two states. It is vis­ually en­gag­ing and keeps your in­ter­est for a long time.” In­spired by the mil­lions of Chi­nese peo­ple who have mi­grated to other re­gions for cen­turies, the Diaspora col­lec­tion of con­vex and con­cave teacups, saucers and teapots crafted by Luzerne in China will also be shown this month at an ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional De­sign Cen­tre in Sin­ga­pore.

Mun Summ and Richard

may take a sim­i­lar ap­proach to their ar­chi­tec­tural and fur­ni­ture projects, but be­cause many of their ob­jects are tied to the schemes that they de­sign, they of­ten go from a large scale (ar­chi­tec­ture) to a smaller scale (in­te­ri­ors), and their fur­ni­ture is there­fore a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of that process.

Richard con­cludes: “We like our fur­ni­ture projects be­cause most of our work is like run­ning a marathon – build­ings take a long time to go from ini­tial de­sign to com­ple­tion – whereas a fur­ni­ture project is like a nice sprint, where we can see re­sults much faster.”

B E LOW Vari­a­tions of the Tur­tle chair ac­com­pa­nied by ot­tomans and cof­fee ta­bles de­signed by the firm’s founders.

TOP LEFT The Tur­tle chair fea­tures flip­per­like legs in­spired by its name­sake.

TOP RIGHT WOHA’s eye­catch­ing booth at the Mai­son & Ob­jet fair.

LEFT Diaspora ce­ramic col­lec­tion pro­duced by Luzerne. B E LOW The round din­ing ta­ble with a built-in lazy su­san is part of the Ulu col­lec­tion.

LEFT WOHA worked with sev­eral lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce its de­signs, such as these rugs made by The Rug Maker. OP­PO­SITE Light­ing de­signs from the Oli col­lec­tion were brought to life by Lon­don­based stu­dio Won­der Glass.

B E LOW Apaiser’s Sam­pan bath­ware as­sumes the shapes of origami pa­per boats.

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