Nathan Yong is the designer of brands, FOLKS and Grafunkt. He lives in Singapore and his works can be found in leading retail stores worldwide.
In spite of graduating from Singapore’s Temasek Polytechnic with a diploma in Industrial Design in 1991, Nathan Yong didn’t start his working life as a designer, but rather as a buyer who also sidelined in product development for various companies in Singapore. It was these jobs that allowed him the chance to travel to India, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia in order to source quality manufacturers and craftsmen to develop and produce furniture and home accessories, and, more importantly, afforded the perfect opportunity to learn firsthand production techniques and craft skills that would prove invaluable to him in the future.
In 1999, Yong utilised this accumulated knowledge to open the retail store, Air Division, selling his own creations made by Asian craftsman. Air Division rapidly grew and claimed commercial success both in Singapore and internationally. Having sold the business, Yong went on to gain a Masters degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia, graduating with distinctions in Design.
Since then his career has gone from strength to strength: for two years in a row he won the prestigious Red Dot Concept Design Award with his conceptual design of a mass production coffin and a portable room heater respectively. In 2008, Yong received the prestigious Singapore President’s Design Award -Designer of the Year, the highest honour afforded designers from all creative disciplines in Singapore, and in the 2011 International supplement, INTERNI for Salone del Mobile, he was selected as one of the most promising Young Designers on the international scene.
Yong’s work is inspired by simple visual memories from everyday life, pared back and made gorgeously practical with the lightness of design restraint. Instead of superfluous details, he captures the poetry of products through rigorous research and engineering, creating fresh styles and functions that fit effortlessly into the user’s life.
Currently based in Singapore, Yong runs a multidisciplinary design consultancy practice. His work spans across industrial design, graphics, interior design, architectural design, strategic planning in product development and manufacturing processes, as well as branding. His clients include Design Within Reach (USA), Ligne Roset (France), Living Divani (Italy), Opinion Ciatti (Italy), Sphaus (Italy), Domicil (Germany), Ethnicraft (Belgium), Grafunkt (Singapore), FOLKS furniture (Singapore) and many others.