Designed and made in Malaysia, the String collection by Kuala Lumpur-based furniture and accessories brand Kedai Bikin continues the heritage of vernacular, retro furniture with reinvented details for modern living.
1 March 2017
Kedai Bikin is a line of Malaysian-crafted furniture and accessories conceived by Kuala Lumpur-based multidisciplinary practice Studio Bikin. Founded by Farah Azizan and Adela Askandar in 2012, the work of Studio Bikin straddles the realms of work and play across disciplines of architecture, interior, landscape, furniture and product design. Products of Kedai Bikin are deeply rooted in tradition and culture, while remaining attuned to the desires of modern living.
A case in point, the String family is a reinvention of ’50s and ’60s classic, vernacular Malaysian furniture through new finishes, colours and details. Hand-bent steel pipe frames, hand-woven rubber or nylon strings were upgraded with specifications such as powder-coating and solid timber armrests, revitalising the image of retro furniture.
The often-forgotten classics can now be applied to modern hotels, cafés or residential spaces, as exemplified by Studio Bikin’s use of the String family in its projects, namely, the Desa House. Designs from the String family were also supplied to the trendy Container Hotel KL by Tetawowe Atelier.
Part of the String family, the Merdeka Chair, known as the ‘round chair’, is based on a popular design from the ’60s. Apart from restoring the original version, the designers have imparted new colours and subtle changes to the design, generating a new language that enables the classic to be considered in modern contexts.
Often used by the grandfathers of many Malaysians to read newspapers or take short naps, an old beloved chaise lounger from the ’60s inspired the Grandaddy lounge chair from the String collection. Equipped with a retractable footrest, Grandaddy sports a matt powder-coated finish with tactile solid timber armrests – one of which comes with a thoughtful cup holder.
“We are intent on building long-lasting working relationships with the makers that we are passionate to collaborate with and support, to build a repertoire of products with added and ‘renewed’ value,” explains Kedai Bikin, who aims to create well-designed furniture that are reasonably-priced, without compromising on artisanal quality and the values of fair trading.
“[We hope to] enrich a sense of accomplishment for the communities involved throughout this endeavour,” they add. Kedai Bikin also produces and carries products designed by other ASEAN designers, as they strive to build a platform that offers the best of design in this region. The brand received the Innovative Craft Awards (ASEAN Selections) by The Support Arts and Crafts International Centre of Thailand (SACCIT) in 2015.
“We believe it is high time that we rediscover our own traditions, get inspired by that and take our own references as to how we can modernise and make ourselves relevant in the local market and in the world,” they conclude.
Kedai Bikin is available in Singapore at Pomelo.
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