If you’re on the lookout for distinctive furniture pieces to complete your home look, you can’t go wrong with Commune at Millenia Walk. This home-grown furniture brand offers a smorgasbord of well-crafted furnishing items, each piece exuding a quiet sense of elegance and beauty. And the temptation to bring one of these creations into your own home will be hard to resist.
We sat down with the founder of Commune, Julian Koh, to learn more about their experiences in creating, building and selling furniture in Singapore.
How long have you been in the business?
We’ve actually been designing and manufacturing furniture for about 30 years. What Commune designs and sells is achieved only after a lot of consideration of many factors. So we create not just for the end-consumer, but also for the buyer who brings our furniture to their respective markets.
What’s your creative process like?
Before we begin the design of any piece of furniture, we need to do the research. We study trends, materials, intended functions and purposes. Then we look at the external considerations: we export our creations, so the designs for Japan will be smaller than those for the European or American markets.
What materials does Commune use?
Our furniture is mainly made from solid walnut and solid oak imported from North America. Our key market is the USA and consumers in these places still can’t appreciate Asian wood, so we stick to the more “premium” quality woods. Even in China, where we are currently trying to expand to, there is a perception that walnut and oak is better than teak or rosewood.
How would you describe Commune’s design style?
You can broadly place our designs into three categories: one is minimalist, one is Scandinavian, and the third is industrial modern. They sound very different, but we try to incorporate common thematic elements so that all the pieces can work with each other. So, it’s possible to have a minimalist dining table, but complemented by Scandinavian or even rustic chairs. In a way, you can say this is what sets us apart from the others.
What happens after that?
Well, after we’ve decided on a style, we’ll fine-tune the design. Usually, this portion involves the type of material used. With walnut or oak, the designs can be made with thinner pieces, so the overall look is sleeker and slimmer. But if the material is softer, say ash, rubberwood, birch, or caesile wood, the design has to be made a bit thicker. So it’s a to and fro process.
What about the manufacturing of your designs?
We’ll do a lot of hand sketches and foam prototypes. Currently, we’re looking into 3D-printing for smaller sized chairs. We prefer to have control over the entire process, including the manufacturing. Our factories are located in Malaysia and Vietnam, and we make sure that the moisture content of the wood is kept constant. We can’t afford to make mistakes that damage or compromise the integrity of the materials.
Why Millenia Walk?
Well, the crowd that comes here are just right for us. These customers appreciate quality craftsmanship and design. There are many furniture shops, but not many do their own design and manufacturing, and our customers like this holistic concept. We like to bring things together, that’s why we’re called Commune. At our in-store café, we bring people together, so it really feels like home, and you can get a sense of how the furniture will fit into your own home.