If we had to hazard a guess at the items we’d find in a rock musician’s crib, it’d probably be lots of leather, amps and guitars.
So when Commune released their latest Volta collection of furniture, we had a strong suspicion that Julian Koh (Commune’s brand and designer director) must’ve been heavily influenced by rock bands. Either that or he’s a designer by day, and rock star by night.
Our suspicions were confirmed on a trip down to Commune’s showroom at Millennia Walk when one of the staff revealed that he was indeed, in a rock band before. Well, that Volta sideboard that looks like an amplifier makes a lot more sense now.
From dining tables to sofas, the Volta collection is a “harmony of bold contrasts” — it’s rebellious but with a touch of elegance, and downtown cool with a dash of uptown class. Elements of elegant leather finish combined with luxurious walnut wood come together to forge a garage-chic look. If you’re fun, young, quirky and daring, this collection will feel right at home in your bachelor pad.
We spoke with Julian to understand his inspiration behind the collection and his favourite piece from it.
What was your inspiration behind the Volta collection?
“I started from the idea to ‘defy the norm’, to do the unexpected, to create pieces that would have personality and a story to tell. I wanted to create statement pieces that would stand out on their own. I wanted the Volta collection to feel like a star in its own right. So I was going for bold contrasts, I was thinking about what a rock musician’s home might look like, and that added a rock star edge in the design.”
“I was interested in putting together a collection that used materials such as solid walnut and luxurious leather that give off a natural, refined elegance, but at the same time, can also exhibit a raw, grunge-like spirit when used in unconventional ways. The solid walnut wood collection paired with leather and brass finishings reveals and celebrates both of these perspectives at once.”
What makes the Volta collection, and Commune so unique?
“I have always been keen on the idea of ‘harmonious contrasts’, and Volta takes these contrasting aesthetics to the extreme. Similar relationships can be found throughout the rest of my furniture designs: that of the industrial and the poetic, the temporary trend and the ever-permanent classic, or the retro and the contemporary.
Commune is meant to be an eclectic collection of different styles over time. At the time I started Commune, I was committed to the idea of creating furniture true to its namesake that would be at the heart of a cosy home-making experience – to show that harmonious contrasts are possible.
Through designing furniture in different styles such as mid-century modern, Scandinavian, modern minimalist, and yet with a timeless universality that allows furniture from across the different collections to be easily mixed and matched, I was trying to show that even if multiple people in a home have different personalities or design tastes, they can come together and find something at Commune that will comfortably accommodate everyone. This means that Commune’s aesthetic is never fixed, and is ever-evolving.”
“With Commune, it’s always about creating a distinctive point of difference – establishing ourselves as an unconventional, international contemporary furniture and lifestyle brand. I’m interested in Commune becoming a trend-setter, a brand that is thought-provoking, modern, energetic and culturally relevant. So we have to do this by pushing the traditional boundaries of furniture design and how furniture is typically conceived.”
Which is your favourite piece of furniture from the collection and why?
“It would have to be the sideboard, as it is designed to mimic a guitar amplifier. With its sound-absorbent fabric, when music is played in the environment it is placed in, the fabric will equally absorb the sound and start to vibrate along, creating the sense that the sideboard is musically alive – just like a guitar amplifier. I like creating furniture that have these stories and can grab attention in a room.”
Commune’s Volta Collection includes a dining table, dining chairs, end table, TV unit, coffee table and sideboard. For more info, please click here.