The local furniture retailer collaborates with six international names to bring global designs to the masses.
Since 2013, Castlery has grown from a three-man, design-to-delivery, custom- order operation to one with more than 50 full-time staff and factories scattered across South-east Asia.
What enables its founders Declan Ee and Fred Ji to succeed in this hard-to-sustain-here (unless you’re Ikea or Courts) homeware business? Well, they were one of the first to fill the gap for modern (think mid-century Scandi, industrial and contemporary Italian) yet affordable furniture that’s not as ubiquitous as Ikea or as layman as Courts.
Ever innovative and keen on exploring new ways to do stuff, Castlery’s latest feat is, well, Feat, a first-time collaboration with a bunch of award- winning designers (from Australia to Italy) that launched in May.
A departure from its in-house creations without departing from its philosophy – “bringing great design to the masses” – the project, 18 months in the making, has brought together Western aesthetics and Singaporean pragmatism.
“We want to make furniture that’s adaptable to most interiors,” says Ee, 35. “That bears in mind the low HDB ceilings, and practicality without compromising on the aspirational.”
The designers share this vision to make good design accessible and adaptable. Red Dot Design Award-winning Spanish duo Alex Selma and Clara del Portillo, both 37, are inspired by the idea of simplicity, innovation and originality. “While we like to experiment with our designs, we don’t like to overdesign. Instead, we care about the little details – every curve and angle has a purpose.” Their Bambu collection for Feat puts a spin on traditional bamboo and rattan furniture.
For British-born and Netherlands-based industrial designer Phil Procter, 29, his engineer father influenced his curiosity in finding out how things work, and how different items and materials can be put together in new and exciting ways. “I like for my designs to be an experience, and exude joy either in the kind of materials used, the way it’s designed, or how people can customise it to suit their own needs.” The result: a storage collection with customisable soft fabric fronts. – HIY