Rattan furniture designers are not uncommon in Indonesia, the world's largest producer of rattan. They're just about everywhere, making mass produced rattan chairs that they export to the rest of the world. But once in a while, the country gets a jolt of pleasant surprise from rattan wunderkinds, design whiz kids who can brilliantly transform this palm beaut into a work of art. Studiohiji's Abie Abdillah is one fine example.
Named one of Rising Asia Talents in 2015 at the Maison & Object 2015 early this year, Abie creates rattan pieces with a contemporary twist. This is his way of making people fall in love with rattan again and rejuvenating the country's decades-old industry.
During last year's International Furniture Fair Singapore, Abie's talent did not go unnoticed. A young couple, Tommy and Angie Huang, offered to carry Studiohiji products in their then-newly built shop in Kallang, For the Common Goods. "We're looking at brands from all over. The three main areas [we're looking for in each brand] are good design, affordability, and sustainability," says Angie. Naturally, Studiohiji's rattan furniture fit the bill.
For the Common Goods welcomes homeowners looking for quality and modern-looking rattan pieces. "People think of rattan as mass-produced, 1970s. They don't expect to pay a lot for it. One way we can change perspectives is there are many grades of rattan, the same way that there are many grades of wood. So Studiohiji seeks out high-grade premium rattan, and [they have] their craftsmen to build it," says Angie.
"If you see rattan after 10 years, the first that gives way is the binding. Over the time the skin just dries up. Studiohiji uses leather instead. Each item is long-lasting. And the design is contemporary, not old-fashioned look. It gives a fresh perspective on furniture."
Probably Abie's most popular creation is the Pretzel, a rattan bench made with nary a nail in sight. "The Pretzel is modular pieces weaved together…and it's all done without nails," adds Angie.
Pretzel Stool, $629. Pretzel Bench, $999.
Net Series: Net Side Chair, $399. Net Coffee Table, $449.
Eunos Lounge Chair and Ottoman, $799
Goda Armchair, $479.
Dano Tripod Stool, $329
Currently, For the Common Goods also carries other brands like Liao and Fred and Bobo. Liao focuses on modular furniture, while Fred and Bobo showcases smaller home decorative items like cushions and lamps.
"Liao is a Singaporean based in Paris. We carry one of his pieces, the MODU canapé, that shows his design capabilities. The good thing about this piece is it's modular, so it's six pieces. You can move them around. Plus, it's slimmer than usual couch," notes Angie. "Fred and Bobo, on the other hand, is a web store that does home and decor. It's meant to complement the furniture in For the Common Goods," says Angie. She designs the cushions in the store.
Upon ordering a Studiohiji piece, there is a waiting time of 12 weeks before delivery. The finished product is worth the wait, trust us.
For the Common Goods is located at 28 Kallang Place 05-01 Singapore. Visit by appointment—call 69085049 or email email@example.com
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Photos by CH Thyng