It’s time to rise against monotonous home interiors. These eight affordable artisan brands show you how.
Homeowners, listen up. Are we tired or are we tired of going to a friend’s house and seeing the exact same trolley/rack/pot/sofa/coffee table/Monstera-print pillow cover that you also have lying around your house? The rise of mass-produced home decor and furniture design brand has made it easier for everyone to own a good looking, high-quality furniture piece, sure. But it has also made home interiors take on a sameness, lacking that je ne sais quoi that makes it truly your own.
It’s time we stage a mutiny against monotony and what better way to do so than to support artisans in their crafts. Here’s a list for your consideration the next time you’re thinking of redecorating or adding something new to your home.
1. Bendang Studio
If you’re a hostess with the mostess (or just love making Insta-worthy dinners), then look no further than Bendang Studio for your next favourite kitchenware. The founder and master ceramic artist, Rozana Musa, originally started experimenting with ceramics in her own backyard. When she started working with designer Imaya Wong, the rest, as they say, is history.
Together, this female powerhouse duo set out to be the champion of local artisanal wares through functional yet contemporary ceramic pieces. Every item you’ll find at Bendang Studio is handmade and individually crafted by trained in-house artisans.
Check out #BendangDiHati for more plate-spo.
2. Lain Furniture
As the name suggests, they do things differently at Lain. Led by Hani Ali who was professionally trained at JamFactory Contemporary Craft & Design in Australia, Lain focuses on hyper-personalised pieces of home furnishing that are designed with their clients in mind. They draw inspiration from local cultures while staying true to the meticulous care and attention to detail that is demanded from craftsmen internationally.
A Danish flair completes every piece from Lain, making it a wonderfully minimal addition to the home that is one of a kind.
3. Rotan Lot
If you’re Malaysian, chances are you would have had at least one rattan furniture in your home growing up. The art of making rattan furniture is one that is slowly dying, but Rotan Lot is doing their part to turn that around.
They’ve taken this tradition and implemented it into home interior items, and they do it with finesse.
4. Kita Kita
Kita Kita is a curator of Malaysian crafts, on a mission to promote and preserve homegrown craftspeople.
They work closely and personally with local artisans and designers, even collaborating to develop new items. If you want the options that mass stores offer, Kita Kita is the place to check out.
5. Tribeca Artisan
Another local curator who specialises in art, decor, and interior furnishing is TriBeCa. It started in 2000 as a small kitsch store selling everything from clothes to furniture to knick-knacks, back when it was practically unheard of.
They continue to grow in their passion to educate the next generation on mindful consumption and appreciation for different kinds of work, recently opening a curated artisan store with an in-house cafe in order to give their clients an interactive experience.
Here, you’ll be able to pick up specially curated small-batch collections of ceramic ware, cloths, decorganisers, and even pieces of furniture from local and international artisans.
Fashion comes and goes, but nostalgia is timeless. The trio of friends who make up Mad3Studio banded together over their shared passion to preserve and rediscover traditional handiwork.
The furniture you’ll find here are made the way craftsmen before did it, infused with a contemporary edge that blends seamlessly into any modern home.
Read more: 6 minimalist home decor stores like MUJI
7. Kéceramics (The Ceramic Designer)
You won’t find a lot of handmade ceramic tiles these days, but Rosmah Yaakub, the designer at Kéceramics, is bent on keeping the craft alive.
The tiles produced here are perfect as statement pieces for your home, customisable to your specifications. They even come in unique furniture designs and shapes, which can be given as gifts as well.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and this rings true for the creation of BentukBentuk. It started with a concrete planter which the founder, Adesh, saw online one time. When she realised that it was nearly impossible to come by here in Malaysia, she decided to dabble in making her own.
It quickly turned into a full-blown business once she realised that people actually wanted to buy her concrete crafts. From coasters to lampstands and of course planters, these fully concrete, completely handmade pieces are gorgeous must-haves in any millennial home.
Getting an item from an artisan that has put in the time, energy, and craft into creating something unlike any other adds a distinct touch to your house’s entire interior design. “It’s expensive!” we hear you cry. Sure, it’s going to cost a bit more than off-the-shelf items you can get at the meatball factory. But when you buy from artisans, you’re not just getting another piece of trinket for your home that you’ll replace in two to three years. You’re supporting an individual who has spent years honing a craft to create a storied artefact. And you can’t put a price tag on that.