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Stellar Works Wants To Focus on Asia

CEO Yuichiro Hori is convinced its eastern sensibilities help it stand out from the crowd

Contemporary furniture brand Stellar Works has just launched a showroom in Singapore in partnership with retailer P5 Studio.

To the uninitiated, the company represents a melting pot of east meets west, and classic meets contemporary, where the pieces are created in collaboration with respected international designers such as Neri&Hu and David Rockwell. All this is underscored by a commitment to craftsmanship, which explains its headquarters in Shanghai.

It sees itself as a guardian of historical designs, as evident in its vintage collections, which are influenced by 20th century greats such as Vilhelm Wolhert and Carlo Forcolini. But Stellar Works also has more contemporary options that merge Asian aesthetics with design movements from the past 100 years, such as Bauhaus and mid-century Scandinavian.

The result? Pieces with longevity that fit into any environment, which can either take the limelight, or contentedly play a supporting role. d+a speaks with its CEO Yuichiro Hori to find out more about the brand, and how it is doing six years after its founding.

Stellar Works' CEO Yuichiro Hori Stellar Works' CEO Yuichiro Hori

How did the idea for Stellar Works come about? 

Shanghai is a diverse and international city. Simultaneously, it is also the factory of the world. I noticed that the city lacked a strong brand that represented both sides of it. Even in Japan, there are well-known brands, but ones that only look at the local market, not the global one. So, while Stellar Works began as a contract and projects company, I wanted to fill this gap. That’s why we set out to create the first international brand that truly represents Asia— and represent it well. 

Why do you think your pieces will resonate with the Singapore market? 

Singapore is one of the core cities in Asia, and our brand stands for Asian sensibilities. Not only does this exist in our brand DNA, but also in our style and product itself. We provide a round table of Asian elements, that blend with international design quality, 

Why did you decide to partner with P5 to start distributing in Singapore? 

The Stellar Works brand is very important, and P5 is exemplary in brand management. While we had offers from other Singaporean companies, because P5 knew not only how to handle the brand, but also be a strong messenger and representation to the brand, we decided to partner with them. 

If dealers don’t understand the brand, they bring the wrong message to our customers. P5 understands the difference between a branded organisation, and a non-branded one. Plus, the P5 team are professional, hard-working, and always smiling.

When you first set up Stellar Works, you set out to change the manufacturing scene in Shanghai. Six years on, how do you think you’ve done? How successful have you been?

In the past six years, we’ve been very successful globally – in both North America and Europe. But now it’s time for us to focus on strengthening our roots in our Shanghai, our home city, and develop more in the Chinese market, and rest of Asia.  

When you first set up Stellar Works, you set out to change the manufacturing scene in Shanghai. Six years on, how do you think you’ve done? How successful have you been?

In the past six years, we’ve been very successful globally – in both North America and Europe. But now it’s time for us to focus on strengthening our roots in our Shanghai, our home city, and develop more in the Chinese market, and rest of Asia.  

Piano chair from the Heritage collection Piano chair from the Heritage collection

Why should someone pick a piece of furniture from Stellar Works over other brands? 

Our pieces are handcrafted. But not only that, our design itself is different. Just from observing our pieces, you can see that they are not Scandinavian, nor European Classic, nor Italian Contemporary. They have their own unique character that you cannot find anywhere else in the market, and cannot exactly pinpoint. We call it the Asian Sensibility.

What do you say to the purists who don’t believe in “diluting” original designs and design styles from the past? 

I’d say that we’re not diluting, or simply reproducing, but rather refining. We find classic designs and add more value to them: we upgrade the materiality, and the structural components.

For example, the Piano Chair was not structurally suitable for contract use, but after discussions with the Wohlert family, our refinements made it stronger for larger scale projects. We refer to past designs not to reproduce them, but to share their story today, and in the future.  

Timelessness is important to Stellar Works. Can you break down how you try to achieve that in your furniture collections? 

Timelessness lies in looking at the past, looking at the future, and finding the middle ground where trends do not lead the design. Stellar Works’ timelessness exists in our always handcrafted pieces, where not too many machines, or trendy materials are used. We do not play with the surface or facade of design, but rather with its core elements: its materiality, its structure, its capabilities, and that’s where we find timelessness. 

Which pieces from Stellar Works do you have in your home? 

I wish I could fit everything! But currently I am testing the comfort and design of: 

- Ran Library by Carlo Forcolini

- Ren Dining Table by Space Copenhagen

- Valet by David Rockwell

- Utility Chair by Neri&Hu

- Laval Writing Desk by OeO

- Utility Sofa by Neri&Hu

Date:
09 April 2018

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