Breakstool by Nathan Yong

A hard wooden stool without curves that follow the shape of our body would be quite uncomfortable to sit on, wouldn’t it? Local designer Nathan Yong wanted to create a stool that was comfortable, but found that bending plywood without splitting it was near impossible.

The solution? Intentionally snip and split the wood’s breaking point, making it more pliable to work with. Breakstool presents a simple solution to a technical problem, and this skyrocketed the status of Nathan’s innovative work. The Breakstool was sold in Singapore for only six months, before design rights were transferred to renowned French company Ligne Roset in 2006, so that it could be produced and distributed worldwide in their stores.

The signature split of Breakstool

Two years ago, the rights were transferred back to Nathan, and he decided to launch Breakstool once more. He is also introducing the Breakchair, an evolution of the original design. We speak to him about his work.

What drives your work?

Curiousity. There will always be questions you want answers to, and this curiosity can translate into shapes and forms. The Breakstool is an answer to the technical problem – the gap or split, which makes the stool looks like it’s “broken”, actually shapes the production and achieves comfort and stability. It’s not a visual teaser, it’s practical.

What tips do you have for young designers when it comes to managing expectations and juggling trends?

Expectations should be from yourself, and not others. Know your core values and benchmark yourself internationally; you are your best and most critical judge of your own work. And, if you want longevity in the design scene, be discerning when observing trends. Some trends come and go, others become a permanent solution – the most important is understanding the unchanging, fundamental rules about design, such as the potential and limitations of your material. Timeless designs have good design integrity.


The upcoming Breakchair by Nathan Yong

What is your identity as a designer?

I want to be known as someone who churns out timeless designs that are informed by heritage, culture and production. I like to strip things down, so that my products have a certain clarity in terms of how they communicate to the user. I have a lot of ideas and I want to do many things, but I deliberately curb it so that my designs are simple and easy for the user to understand.

Retaining the original design, the relaunch presents the Breakstool in two new variations, Oak and Walnut. They are exclusively available at Gallery & Co. and GRAFUNKT for a limited time only, for $480. The Breakchair retails at $650. A showcase featuring both designs will be on display in the store from 3 August to 3 September 2016.