Nathan Yong - The 'Godfather Of Singapore Design'
Tatler Homes Singapore|August - September 2021
Nathan Yong is flying the Singapore flag high on the global stage, with his various accolades and astute stewardship of furniture retailer Grafunkt
Nathan Yong

Nathan Yong has been called the “godfather of Singapore design”, and justifiably so. The veteran furniture designer’s illustrious oeuvre has led to multiple awards, well-received showings at global fairs, and partnerships with international manufacturers including Living Divani and Domicil.

Named Designer of the Year at the President*s Design Award 2008, Yong remains firmly grounded and retains a sense of wonderment despite his fame. “The constant thirst for knowledge to improve how we live inspires me every day,” he says.

LOCAL ROOTS

Yong graduated from Temasek Polytechnic with a diploma in Industrial Design in 1991, and had learnt about various production techniques while working as a buyer for furnishings and home accessories. His first business venture was Air Division, a retail brand which he started with friends in 1999.

It wasn’t long before Air Division started to make a name for itself with its designs and quality furniture. “I believe things should be built to last and have better values to withstand fads,” Yong says. He left the company in 2009 to start multidisciplinary consultancy Nathan Yong Design, while co-founding furniture retailer Grafunkt with business partner Jefery Kurniadidjaja in the same year. In 2010, Yong launched Folks, a brand that champions Asian-made furniture and craftsmanship.

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