The Straits Times
Published on Feb 01, 2013

Designer furniture collectors say only originals are worth collecting, not replicas


Walking into the Bukit Timah home of banker Ng Yoh Thai is like stepping into a museum of mid-century modern classic furniture.

His over 100 piece collection boasts iconic designs such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh's 1904 Hillhouse chair, Gerrit Rietveld's 1923 Red/Blue chair and the 1956 Charles and Ray Eames' Lounge Chair and Foot Stool.

The 55-year-old banker, who has been collecting for over two decades, is part of a group of design enthusiasts who collect original pieces of furniture from iconic designers. Even if it is an expensive hobby, collectors Life! spoke to say these pieces are coveted for their revolutionary designs when they were launched decades ago.

As collector Joseph Lim, who owns Knoll's Bertoia side chair by Italian-born artist Harry Bertoia and the 1992 Flos Brera ceiling lights by Italian industrial designer Achille Castiglioni, says: "Many people will see a chair as just a chair. But that's not true. With designer pieces, there's always a story to it. I appreciate the thought process that went into creating such iconic pieces."