Five things to love about Nathan Yong's new furniture collection

By Aaron De Silva
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Singapore designer Nathan Yong collaborates with homegrown furniture brand Ipse Ipsa Ipsum to release a tightly-edited series of handcrafted furnishings.
At last month’s International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS), designer Nathan Yong launched a collection for ipse ipsa ipsum. The brand, which means “himself herself itself” in Latin, is the brainchild of Saurabh Mangla and Ruchika Singhal. The pair also happen to be the creators of homewares brand Sam & Sara.
Saurabh Mangla and Nathan Yong
The Nathan Yong Collection comprises 18 items ranging from serving trays and fruit bowls to sofas and sideboards. “When (Saurabh and Ruchika) invited me to collaborate, what piqued my interest was the chance to make use of Indian craftsmanship to bring something new to the market,” says Nathan. “I was also interested in making a direct connection with the craftsmen, and bringing Indian designs up-to-date.”
The collection took a year to conceptualise, design and produce. We loved the results, or at least what we saw at the launch. Here’s why:-
1. The pieces are all handcrafted
One example is the Sangli Mirror: it has an antiqued effect that makes it look like a family heirloom. Each piece in the collection is handmade by skilled artisans in India. Uniquely, these craftsmen are all housed in the same factory. Their skill sets range from leather- and metalwork to silversmithing and stone masonry. Saurabh’s grandfather started the facility 45 years ago, and it has been in business ever since. There, the artisans finish each piece by hand, achieving a look that cannot be replicated by machines.
Sangli Mirror
2. Prices are relatively wallet-friendly
Nathan designed the collection with affordability in mind. He explains: “I wanted to introduce luxury in an affordable way. This collection allows me to do that, because the designs are minimal. Hence, production costs aren’t so high.” Prices, he adds, are about 30% cheaper than the competition. The Jaipur Dining Chair, in antique brass and crocodile print leather, has an RRP of US$400. The most expensive item in the collection, the Alwar Dining Table in green marble and brass, costs US$3,950. Similar items made in the EU would easily cost upwards of US$1,000 and US$5,000, respectively.
Jaipur Dining Chair
3. The collection works well in Scandi-modern interiors
The Scandi-modern look is still very popular among homeowners in Singapore. Think neutral colours, natural materials, simple shapes, and warm metallic accents such as brass and copper. The collection fits in perfectly with this look: the designs are sleek and simple, and most pieces have a brass element. Natural materials like marble and leather also feature strongly. If you were to add a Nathan Yong piece to your living space, it wouldn’t look out of place.
Bikaner Aged Glass Lamp
4. Some pieces hide a surprise
When the collection was being designed, Saurabh’s intention was to include an element of surprise. The Sangli Mirror is one such piece. From the front, it looks like an ordinary mirror. But go round the back and you’ll notice that there’s a hanger rail and shelves. Covered in crocodile print leather, the shelves are not only luxurious, but they also provide useful storage space for clothes, shoes and accessories.
Sangli Mirror with back shelves
5. You can customise pieces to your liking
Everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to furnishing their homes. With this in mind, Nathan set about designing modular pieces. Take, for example, the Udaipur Sofa. A buyer can choose everything from the material of the frame (brass or nickel) to the material of the side table (white, green or black marble). Then he/she can choose which components to add: lamp, table, mirror or TV remote holder.
Udaipur Sofa

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