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03 June 2011
Nathan Yong: Onward and Upward
The Singaporean designer is busy building up dynamic brands that locals can be proud of.
Nathan Yong is not expecting big things this year; rather, he expects to be busy running around, making big things happen.
For one, Grafunkt, under Nathan's creative directorship, is today actively making many meaningful collaborations with different designers.
"I try to be objective and let different designers create with their own style. I think the diversity adds dynamism to Grafunkt."
This idea of dynamism was amply played out during Singapore's inaugural Saturday in Design: their Verses/Versus project, which connects designers with commercial manufacturers, was launched then. Participants in the project included local furniture design studio Cilicon Faytory and cross-disciplinary design collective :phunk, as well as London-based VoonWong&BensonSaw, among others.
Basket by VoonWong&BensonSaw
Nathan's eponymous studio, Nathan Yong Design, was established in 2009 and a mere year later, he launched Grafunkt with private label GFNKT, as well as new labels Folks and V.
"The response was great. I never expected it... I am very grateful," says Nathan.
His first retail store at Park Mall opened in May 2010, followed closely in October with a second Grafunkt showroom, Grafunkt @ 85 Playfair Road. Nathan deliberately chose an old 1960s-inspired building in an industrial estate to base the second store. "We did not want to take the easy path in locating ourselves in yet another mall or a shophouse. Our patience paid off when we found a location that was industrial based and one that did not conform to normal expectations."
At a generous 3,300 sqft, Grafunkt at Playfair retails a wider range of brands – Folks, GFNKT and V, as well as international names Vitra and Whitewoods. In June, Playfair will also carry American brand Blu Dot.
Despite his involvement in many different initiatives, Nathan has managed to eke out time for his first love, furniture design. By any measure, the designer has made successful inroads internationally, with exhibitions in Milan, London, Shizuoka and Taipei. His designs have also been picked up by Ligne Roset and Design Within Reach. And recently, his Drapery coffee table and Foxhole collection, pieces that Nathan describes as "beautifully engineered", were also selected for production by Italian brand SPHAUS.
Like we said, Nathan is busy making things happen!
Nathan Yong Design