New design firm Industry+ wins accolades, boosts Asian talents

Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding Talent of the Year Award at last year's Asia Talents competition. Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah's Mirror 14.1 (left) was featured on the cover of design magazine Wallpaper*. Industry+'s founders Yoichi Nakamuta (far left) and P.C. Ee (left). Designer Hans Tan's Spring Tray (above) uses 3-D printed springs to create a bowl that supports the weight of fruits without bruising them.PHOTO: AKIHIRO YOSHIDA PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK PHOTOS: INDUSTRY+ ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding Talent of the Year Award at last year's Asia Talents competition. Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah's Mirror 14.1 (left) was featured on the cover of design magazine Wallpaper*. Industry+'s founders Yoichi Nakamuta (far left) and P.C. Ee (left). Designer Hans Tan's Spring Tray (above) uses 3-D printed springs to create a bowl that supports the weight of fruits without bruising them.PHOTO: AKIHIRO YOSHIDA PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK PHOTOS: INDUSTRY+ ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding Talent of the Year Award at last year's Asia Talents competition. Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah's Mirror 14.1 (left) was featured on the cover of design magazine Wallpaper*. Industry+'s founders Yoichi Nakamuta (far left) and P.C. Ee (left). Designer Hans Tan's Spring Tray (above) uses 3-D printed springs to create a bowl that supports the weight of fruits without bruising them.PHOTO: AKIHIRO YOSHIDA PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK PHOTOS: INDUSTRY+ ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding Talent of the Year Award at last year's Asia Talents competition. Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah's Mirror 14.1 (left) was featured on the cover of design magazine Wallpaper*. Industry+'s founders Yoichi Nakamuta (far left) and P.C. Ee (left). Designer Hans Tan's Spring Tray (above) uses 3-D printed springs to create a bowl that supports the weight of fruits without bruising them.PHOTO: AKIHIRO YOSHIDA PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK PHOTOS: INDUSTRY+ ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding Talent of the Year Award at last year's Asia Talents competition. Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah's Mirror 14.1 (left) was featured on the cover of design magazine Wallpaper*. Industry+'s founders Yoichi Nakamuta (far left) and P.C. Ee (left). Designer Hans Tan's Spring Tray (above) uses 3-D printed springs to create a bowl that supports the weight of fruits without bruising them.PHOTO: AKIHIRO YOSHIDA PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK PHOTOS: INDUSTRY+ ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding
Lin, Atelier Ikebuchi's low table, has a surface that resembles the scales of a dragon. Chairs (below) from the Tokyo Tribal Collection and made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood. Outofstock's Luna Light (above), which won the company an Outstanding Talent of the Year Award at last year's Asia Talents competition. Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah's Mirror 14.1 (left) was featured on the cover of design magazine Wallpaper*. Industry+'s founders Yoichi Nakamuta (far left) and P.C. Ee (left). Designer Hans Tan's Spring Tray (above) uses 3-D printed springs to create a bowl that supports the weight of fruits without bruising them.PHOTO: AKIHIRO YOSHIDA PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK PHOTOS: INDUSTRY+ ST PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH

From making a mark at the Milan Furniture Fair to getting a mention in magazines, Industry+ is helping Asian designers create waves in the scene

Barely a year after its debut, Singapore- based design production company Industry+ is on a high, having scored several coups.

At last month's Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, also known as the Milan Furniture Fair, the company displayed a 25-piece set of stools, chairs, tables and shelves made from volcanic ash, bamboo and wood.

Called the Tokyo Tribal Collection, it drew eyeballs - and praise - for its collaboration with celebrated Japanese studio nendo.

The studio's principal designer Oki Sato is this year's Designer of the Year at the prestigious Parisian lifestyle and design fair, Maison&Objet. Nendo has also previously worked with big brands such as Italian design house Cappellini and fashion labels such as Tods and Cos.

The compact furniture pieces combined multiple uses. For example, a side table also functions as a small rattan basket to hold knick-knacks, while a bar stool has a bowl-like basket between its legs.

Architecture and design magazine Domus wrote: "Through such details, these pieces seem to meld the concepts of 'furniture' and 'miscellaneous interior goods' into one, in contrast to more conventional concepts of interior design that clearly place greater importance on the former."

To add another feather to Industry+'s cap, a work from its debut collection with eight Singapore designers was featured on the cover of taste-making design magazine Wallpaper*.

The product, Mirror 14.1, was made by Ministry of Design founder Colin Seah. It is a round mirror with a copper-like finish and has a small "dog ear" - a fold on the top left corner. The 7.5kg piece was featured alongside works by designers from America, South Korea and Poland.

Industry+ started out as an idea to champion Asian design. It began by working with Singapore designers. It is now branching out to other countries and working with Japanese and Filipino designers.

It was founded by Mr P.C. Ee, creative director of Exit Studio, and Mr Yoichi Nakamuta, 58, founder of prominent design production company E&Y, which has worked with big names such as British designer Tom Dixon. E&Y's works are also exhibited at the Design Museum London and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Aside from commissioning and collaborating with designers, Industry+ also curates and hosts exhibitions.

Mr Ee, 43, says of Industry+'s genesis: "Yoichi approached me with this idea of discovering Asian talent and to explore the manufacturing abilities which are available only in Asia. We wanted to see what surprises we would get from designers who are heavily influenced by Western design, but still have this subconscious Asian expression when they design."

If surprises were what they were looking for, they were duly impressed when they saw the pieces by eight handpicked, contemporary Singapore designers who included Studio Juju, Outofstock and Koichiro Ikebuchi of Singapore-based Atelier Ikebuchi.

All the designers were given an open brief. The pieces, which came under the generically titled Collection X before the name Industry+ was mooted, were exhibited at the National Design Centre during last year's Singapore Design Week.

Outofstock created Luna Light, a dreamy, moon-like fixture for the debut collection, which clinched the company the Outstanding Talent of the Year Awards at Asia Talents in Bangkok last year.

Other pieces included those from designer Olivia Lee, who created the Revere Vase, made of glass and rocks on its base, and the Float Table, which was cast out of resin and petrified lotus leaves.

Phunk Studio's Jackson Tan made the Dream Bench, a lightweight concrete piece which spells the word "dream".

Mr Ee says: "People wanted to buy pieces on the spot even though they didn't know who we were, what we were about or who was behind the works."

Industry+'s works can be found through its website (industryplus.com.sg/).

Outofstock's designer Wendy Chua, 30, says she leapt at the opportunity to work with Industry+.

"When you hear what they want to do with designers, it makes you want to be part of the first group of people to make this happen," she says. "Yoichi knows about making waves. After spending time in the 1990s in London looking for new trends, he thinks the next best thing is in Singapore."

Riding on that crest of their first collection, Mr Ee and Mr Nakamuta branched out and roped in more Asian designers such as Japanese designers Gen Suzuki and Ryosuke Fukusada.

They snagged the collaboration with nendo and the pieces were prominently displayed at nendo's solo one-year retrospective exhibition in Milan for the five-day furniture fair.

Nendo's Oki Sato immediately said yes to working with Industry+ when he was approached, despite an already heavy production schedule.

Mr Ee says: "Nendo coming on board showed that the studio was willing to work with us and that it liked the philosophy behind what we're trying to do."

Industry+'s second year in business is already starting to look busy.

New collaborations are in the works and it is planning to show some work from the label at the upcoming Maison&Objet in September in Paris. Mr Ee is hoping to start another collection with local designers.

Studio Juju's co-founder Timo Wong, 33, foresees that Industry+ will be in the spotlight for a while. Together with his design partner Priscilla Lui, 32, Studio Juju has worked on three projects with Industry+ to date.

He says Industry+ is bringing designers in the region closer together.

"Rather than segmenting design by countries as it happens now, it will be interesting to find out what a collective Asian design looks like," he adds.

natashaz@sph.com.sg