Wallpaper* Global Interiors: a snapshot of design from Asia
Our edit of furniture from across Asia includes pieces from Stellar Works, Mario Tsai Studio, Maruni and more
Welcome to the next stop in our journey through global design, featuring pieces from across Asia: for this instalment of Wallpaper’s Global Interiors, we focused on an extended view of the continent, from the Middle to the Far East. Our findings were arranged in an immersive set created by Berlin 3D design studio Form & Rausch, and feature pieces by the likes of Stellar Works, Mario Tsai Studio, Maruni and more. Discover in more detail our snapshot of designs from Asia.
Shanghai-based brand Stellar Works’ mission is to combine refined culture and Asian sensibility, a goal it achieves through a sophisticated collection of furniture, objects and lighting in collaboration with global designers and architects. ‘Our aim was to inspire a renaissance in Asian aesthetics, taking the forms, styles and motifs that have characterised Japanese design across the centuries and filtering them through the lens of the European tradition to create something new and timeless,’ says Yuichiro Hori, CEO and founder.
OEO Studio’s new series of lamps for Stellar Works combines Asian aesthetic sensibility with Danish design. Designed to be ‘playful, analogue and sculptural’, the Mün series includes floor (picured) and hanging lamps in different sizes, and a portable lamp that can also be used as an outdoor light. Its name references the Japanese word for moon, and its sophisticated appearance mimics its subtle movement.
Mario Tsai Studio
Chinese designer Mario Tsai founded his eponymous design and research studio in Hangzhou in 2014, ‘to explore the potential attributes of materials and new production methods while adhering to sustainable design principles’. Tsai has since collaborated with several international brands, and his studio has also developed design and production of a series of furniture pieces, objects and lighting projects.
Among Tsai’s self-produced projects are the Mazha lights (pictured), a series started in 2019 and developed into a modular system featuring virtually infinite compositions. The collection, the designer explains, was inspired by the structure of the traditional Chinese ‘mazha’ seat, featuring a distinctive X-shaped base. The lamp’s wires are hidden within its hanging structure, making it appear to float.
Vietnam furniture design firm District Eight was founded in 2010 in Ho Chi Minh City, ‘to elevate the workmanship of its manufacture, and develop collections that aim for the highest quality while maintaining a hand-crafted finish’. The brand’s vast catalogue features minimal furniture and domestic accessories, with a particular emphasis on a design that exudes lightness. The ‘Dragonfly’ chair is defined by a thin, slanted structure that holds a cushioned seat and backrest. Made of black steel tube and available in a series of upholstery finishes in fabric or leather, the chair is part of a collection that comprises a dining chair (pictured) and lounge versions.
Founding his eponymous design studio in Guangzhou in 2020, multidisciplinary Chinese designer Sing Chan focused on designing to integrate different cultures, connecting past, present and future and develop material and cultural innovations. Among his recent projects is ‘The memory of Chinese architectural’, inspired by and celebrating traditional Chinese architecture and its most distinctive elements through a series of domestic furniture pieces. The ‘Quadrangle’ table (pictured) is inspired by an aerial view of the traditional Chinese architectural complex.
A collaboration between designers Utharaa L Zacharias and Palaash Chaudhary, Soft-Geometry is a studio with roots in India and a base in California. The pair started the studio to experiment with form and craft, creating pieces that offer ‘an antithesis to the big, bold, fast and perfect’. Among the studio’s most successful pieces to date is the Elio series of lamps (pictured), whose forms perfectly represent the studio’s moniker. The lamps were inspired by snapshots taken by the pair depicting ‘the play of light on glass, water, skin, and dust’, a combination of forms that was recreated with a composition of translucent cast resin tubes forming the lamp’s base. The collection, the designers explain, ‘looks to recreate a diffused glow using frosted sugar jellies as a visual reference, and Its singular bend is a small ode to Eileen Grey’s Bibendum lounge’.
Japanese brand Ariake is a joint venture between two leading furniture producers based in the furniture district of Morodomi. Working with international designers, from Anderssen & Voll to Gabriel Tan (who also served as the company’s creative director), Ariake produces honest furniture crafted for everyday life.
Shin Azumi’s ‘Elements’ coat stand for the brand (pictured) is inspired by the idea of the object as ‘a functional sculpture in a house’. The piece is designed as an assemblage of timber elements of different sizes joined in an asymmetrical grid structure, changing its appearance depending on the point of view.
Lebanese designers David Raffoul and Nicolas Moussallem have created exquisite furniture pieces since starting their studio in Beirut in 2011. Working on collectible design pieces as well as private commissions and collaborations with international brands, the studio’s work successfully merges Middle Eastern and European influences.
Their Supernova collection features marble, glass and timber pieces inspired by a retro-futuristic aesthetic, the cosmos, and Daft Punk (a mix of influences that well exemplifies the studio’s vast cultural universe). Part of the collection is the Constellation series of tables (pictured), exploring how a scientific phenomenon can be translated into objects.
One of the leading Japanese furniture brands today, Maruni regularly collaborates with designers and architects, from Jasper Morrison to Sanaa. The brand’s collection features a wide palette of wood, including FSC-certified beech, oak and maple.
Among Maruni’s long-term collaborators is Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa, whose seamlessly designed chairs, sofas and tables form an impressive part of the company’s catalogue. His latest contribution is the Tako collection, featuring both chairs (pictured) and ta able defined by a sinuous leg shape and gently curved timber structure.
Chinese furniture brand Buzao was born in 2017 as an experimental arm of design company Bentu. Now an independent entity, its disruptive aesthetic is based on formal and material explorations without limitations. Working to push the limits of furniture manufacturing and drawing inspiration from Chinese heritage as well as contemporary fashion, architecture, and graphic design, Buzao creates furniture defined by experimentation. Its ‘Dislocation’ dining table (pictured) is a piece combining black Marquina marble and blue acrylic, characterised by a composition of geometric volumes.
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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