6 Homegrown Carpenters
Amirul Hafiz Anuar decided it wasn't the smartest move to pay huge markups for wooden furniture. Not when he could hammer these together himself. He uploaded his pieces on Instagram, and friends took notice.
With enough demand convincing him it could be more than a pastime, he set up Porniture with wife Siti Fatima Jamaluddin. Formerly a mechanic, he's used to working with his hands, and now specializes in wood and steel cat enclosures that can have as many as 20 individual pieces.
ZVW + 4Inci3Hun
These incoherent consonants and enigmatic vowels reveal two secrets: Zoul's love for classic Volkswagens and the fractional measurements on a regular ruler only old-school carpenters use; four inches and three eights. He left his interior design gig because he wanted to set his own timetable.
He's careful to explain that woodworking can make one feel more cognizant of their natural surroundings, more connected to their handiwork, and offers a sense of fullfilment few vacations can offer. Since humanity's first plows and yokes, carpentry has after all, been a profession for the ages.
Several years ago, a husband-and-wife team set up a bazaar stall. Along with scrumptious food were chairs and tables they'd made on their front porch.
"Strangely enough, customers asked if they could buy our chairs as well," explains Nur Shazlisha Sahar. The first baby steps were a struggle. She and husband Zarulaliff Zulkifli had to improve technique, develop a marketing strategy and cultivate their imagination to conquer this niche.
"We've send most of our pieces to clients personally, even to Singapore or East Malaysia. Next year will be big for us, as we're looking to expand with even more floor space," she says.
The left and right hemispheres that power Bawang are Haziq Mahpuz (left) and Mustakim Ismail (right). Both are designers who've worked on everything from interior design to customized constructions. This includes cabinets, furniture, tables, chairs, soft furnishings, murals and so on.
"We can put together an entire room for clients.You name it, we can do it," says Haziq.
In the pipeline is a series of flatpack furniture, designed to suit local contexts. "We can't reveal too much, but it will fit Malaysian needs and styles. It will be authentic yet modern in execution as well," says Mustakim.
Fine Grit Studio
Wood crafting jobs are often cherished by the people who perform them. These folks genuinely look forward to each day's work, finding great joy in building pieces that require plenty of skill, precision and creative ingenuity. Of all the people we encountered, Daniel Salehuddin (left) and Khairul Asyraf (right) were the embodiment of this notion. Starting off as an industrial designer and mechanical engineer respectively, they're known for their accomplished product finishings and structurally sound designs.
"Our current style leans towards clean Scandinavian lines, raw woods and metals. Some of the guys we're inspired by are Sean Woolsey, Jimmy DiResta and Arielle Alasko," says Daniel.
Woodworking requires laser-like focus, since accurate cuts and measurements ultimately determine the success of a said project. That's why many experienced creators get to the point where their jobs almost feel like meditation.
"For us, it's not a question of material. It's about creation. While we initially started with wood, there's really no limitation,"Izat Ariff (right) says, pointing towards a massive art installation of bamboo chopsticks and copper destined for a hip restaurant in KL.