Since they opened their Singapore-based studio WOHA in 1994, Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell (the practice is named from the first two letters of their surnames) have been lauded as much for the intriguing furniture and accessories they design for the interiors of their projects as for the projects themselves. So, it’s something of a surprise that it’s taken this long for a full-fledged commercial collection to be realised.
Christened WOHAbeing, the newly minted design brand will make its international debut at September’s Maison et Objet in Paris with not one, but six separate homeware collections of furniture, rugs, lights, bathware and tableware. In addition to a self-produced range, the remaining collections feature a collaboration with a blue-chip designer – apaiser, Industry+, Luzerne, The Rug Maker and WonderGlass – and are based on designs harvested from diverse projects including Bali’s Alila Villas Uluwatu, and Singapore’s PARKROYAL on Pickering.
‘It is a nice change for us to make objects with enthusiastic partners,’ says Hassell, ‘and be able to give our objects their own independent existence, in their own time.’
‘Crab’ side table with ‘Net’ lamp by WOHAbeing, from the self-manufactured ‘Bintan’ collection
A highlight of the WOHA pavilion – itself an eye-catching cocoon curlicued with the fractal geometry of a leafy stem – will be the ‘Oli’, a chandelier created with WonderGlass that’s in the shape of a stupa created of a cloud of Venetian bead-shaped glass pieces.
WOHAbeing serves two purposes. One, says Hassell, is to ‘satisfy the demands of people who see our pieces in the projects and love them. We went through our designs and selected the ones that would work well in a variety of settings, and ones we are just very fond of’.
The second is more cerebral: to follow design ideas through to a satisfactory conclusion. Hassell says that often, ‘in our development projects, pieces are not made, or don’t proceed for one reason or another, or we realise that they could be developed to a new level if we had more time or a more innovative maker’.
All of which means there are more designs in the pipeline. ‘Now that we’ve started on this journey, we’re very excited to see where it will take us,’ muses Hassell.