Launched at Maison & Objet Paris in September, WOHA’s design brand WOHAbeing has landed at the National Design Centre with expanded collections created in collaboration with international partners.
5 January, 2018
In late 2016, France’s premier interior and décor trade fair Maison & Objet (M&O) named WOHA as its M&O Asia Designer of the Year 2017 and announced the architecture firm’s upcoming product line WOHAbeing – an unexpected and inspired choice which piqued the curiosity of the design industry.
Unfortunately, the Asian edition of the fair was cancelled in 2017. WOHA took it in strides and WOHAbeing was debuted in the fall edition of M&O in Paris in September last year instead. A preview of WOHAbeing’s inaugural collection shown at WOHA’s studio back in June showed four promising collections produced by different local and international manufacturers.
In December, WOHAbeing’s Paris showcase landed in National Design Centre, retitled as Bonjour, WOHAbeing. Showcased inside the original 90-sqm pavilion encased in Richard Hassell’s wooden vine lattice, the exhibition shows the brand’s expanded collections, including some new collaborations that will be made commercially available starting this January in the spring edition of M&O Paris.
“The responses we got from M&O in September have been encouraging,” said Hassell at the exhibition’s opening. He shared, “Our start in Paris was slightly unusual. The normal model is a manufacturer will approach a designer, develop a range, and then handle everything including distribution and marketing. We took the lead in terms of approaching manufacturers and promotions. We didn’t think it was unusual!”
Among the new pieces showcased in Singapore for the first time are the Diaspora tableware range produced by Luzerne, an apartment-sized rug collection named Corak manufactured by homegrown atelier The Rug Maker, and the Sampan bathware collection produced by Australian boutique bathware brand Apaiser.
Bonjour, WOHAbeing also introduced new partner Wewood, a porto-based furniture manufacturer, as the official manufacturer and distributor of the Bintan and the indoor Ulu collections.
“We always try to work with people who have a commitment to sustainability and best practices – Apaiser uses recycled marble, Wewood uses certified wood – and also with craftspeople we meet in our projects who make us think, ‘Can we do interesting things with them? Can we do something to keep this craft alive?’” shares Hassell.
The two furniture families have grown since last year to include some ‘new old’ pieces – designs from WOHA’s existing furniture archive that are now being made commercially available.
Furniture design is quite an untold story of WOHA. Shares Wong Mun Summ, “Designing furniture is not something new for us. We have been doing it for a long time. We’ve got quite a big catalogue of pieces. But after many years we have changed a lot, so we have new ones as well that maybe more in sync with the millennial generation.”
These ‘new old’ pieces include the striking Ulu dining table. Its top features a concentric pattern of oak and walnut with a seamless Lazy Susan that seemed to be the object of fascination for many people (across generations) on the opening night. The table was originally designed for a client’s home 20 years ago. When not in use, the client would hang the table top on the wall like an artwork.
After Bonjour, WOHABeing, the collection will be exhibited (and available for purchase) at M&O Paris from 18-23 January 2018.
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