Design is art that functions. Furniture and interior design, in particular, explore the possibilities of the experiential beauty of an empty space.
This is exactly what Dawn Sy of Atelier Aurora and Buddy Ong of Think Factory do with PLAY Furniture Studio, their collaborative venture focusing on practical, eclectic, and playful furniture. PLAY designs custom pieces for their own architectural projects, and they offer the same for other architects, interior designers, furniture makers, and business owners.
Fresh from acquiring their architectural licenses four years ago, both inspiration and reality paved the way for Dawn and Buddy’s creative partnership. Their experience under the mentorship of architect Jun Ong have them the opportunity to work on projects in Tokyo, which opened their eyes to the strict discipline and commitment to excellence that Japan has for furniture design and production. “We were inspired at how this was a valuable industry in Japan. It was almost as important as the actual structure. It was an art on its own. It was like fashion to them. We dream of having the same culture in Cebu,” Dawn and Buddy explain.
With this in mind, they zoned in on Cebu’s furniture and design industry, and realized that there is a lack of pieces that were stylish and of good quality that could meet the quantity requirements of most food and beverage and hospitality projects. They decided to fill the gap with PLAY Furniture Studio.
Made for the soon-to-open restaurant Pyramid, the Trilateral Wire Copper Chair (Tri-Chair) is one piece that represents their aesthetic. “We always go for designs that are subtle. Pieces that are made to bring out the beauty of the space and complement it,” Dawn and Buddy share. Since they make custom furniture, their pieces are designed to address a particular need with actual parameters already, because “the space always dictates the piece.”
With a penchant for modern industrial and mid-century aesthetics, Dawn and Buddy see design as a union between beauty and functionality that provides the best possible solution to a real problem. In simpler terms, it’s a beautiful thing that works very well.