Maker of exquisite cheongsam and most recently, luxe tableware, contemporary womenswear label Ong Shunmugam shows that creativity is boundless when inspiration is drawn from Asia’s rich heritage and its accompanying traditions. Helmed by lauded Singaporean-based designer Priscilla Ong-Shunmugam, the brand recently launched a stunning 12-piece furniture and homeware collection devoted to rattan, a material endemic to the region.
Ditching the convention references of rattan furniture, she set off on her own path to create designs that felt instinctual to her, even if that meant things had to be done from scratch by veteran craftsmen in Malaysia using locally grown rattan species like rotan manau, rotan mantang, and rotan sega. Ong said: “Most of our pieces had no template to build upon, meaning we had to draw from scratch and the craftsmen had to build from our drawings.”
Taking advantage of rattan’s durability and lightweight properties, she added the brand’s signature vibrancy by adding materials from the region—such as jacquard from China, indigenous Iban weave patterns, as well as batik from Indonesia. The result is a charming homage to Asia’s artisans and their slow crafts, a tribute to cross-cultural exchange, as well as a call to sustainability in the face of forest clearances.
Meticulously crafted by hand, the collection comprises of trays, screens, standing planters, chairs, and a dining table. Despite the seemingly unusual mix of materials, each piece of furniture and homeware stands out in a seamless and harmonious manner.
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