Meet the Indonesian furniture brand that is quickly making a mark in Singapore due to its affordable elegant tropical-style pieces. We chat with co-owner of ELEMENTS CONCEPT, Ingeborg Van Der Hoek, about what inspired the team to launch in Singapore, a new collection, and the exciting times that lie ahead for this sustainable brand.
When Ingeborg van der Hoek walked into one of Elements Concept’s Jakarta stores in June 2016, she immediately fell in love with the brand. Who can resist a standout collection of hand-woven homewares and furniture made with natural materials by talented craftsmen and women?
Elements Concept was founded in 2015 by Dutch designer Bastiaan Spil. The designer – who grew up in Indonesia – is no novice, coming from a family who has been making furniture and home accessories for many popular stores for over 30 years. Bastiaan, together with his team, is heavily involved in the design process and manages everything from sourcing raw materials to producing the pieces in his factories and workshops.
Today, Elements Concept has two stores in Indonesia, outfits cafes, restaurants, hotels and beach clubs all over Indonesia and exports products and franchises its concept to Europe, the US, Japan and Australia.
The team felt that Singapore could use a high quality, natural furniture brand that ties in with its yearlong tropical vibes. It didn’t take long before Ingeborg – who currently resides in Singapore – became the co-owner of Elements Concept.
Ingeborg tells us all about the positive reception the brand has received as she runs the Singapore branch and shares her all-time favourite pieces as well as new additions to look out for from the latest collection.
How did the Elements Concept come about?
The brand was founded in 2015 by Bastiaan Spil. Bastiaan is a Dutch designer who grew up in Indonesia. His parents moved there 30 years ago to start a furniture workshop with local craftsmen. Since then, they have been making furniture and home accessories for stores all over the world, including two of the most popular furniture and home decor stores in The Netherlands. In 2015, Bastiaan started his own brand under the name Elements Concept from this workshop, creating his own designs.
Who is behind Elements Concept and what roles do they play?
First of all, our talented craftsmen and -women of course! They are the ones making the fabulous pieces, all by hand. Then there is Bastiaan Spil. Bastiaan studied at the Art Academy and Economics & Law in The Netherlands before returning to Indonesia to use what he had learned to set up Elements Concept. Bastiaan designs the furniture and home accessories, runs the business (including two stores) in Indonesia, manages commercial projects (like hotels & restaurants) and exports to countries all over the world.
I am co-owner of the brand in Singapore. I run the Singapore branch, manage all sales & marketing, operations and projects. Before collaborating with Bastiaan I ran a tiny furniture business in Singapore, doing mainly custom made items on a very small scale.
How did you decide to be a part of Elements Concept?
In June 2016, after a tip from a friend in Singapore, I walked into one of the Elements Concept stores in Jakarta and immediately fell in love with the brand. I loved the natural feel of it, the tropical touch and just really gorgeous designs. Bastiaan and I met up for a coffee and decided there and then to work together.
Founder, Bastiaan Spil
"I walked into one of the Elements Concept stores in Jakarta and immediately fell in love with the brand. I loved the natural feel of it, the tropical touch and just really gorgeous designs. Bastiaan (the founder of Elements Concept) and I met up for a coffee and decided there and then to work together."
Elements Concept’s Jakarta store
What inspired the team to launch in Singapore?
We really felt that Singapore could use a high quality, natural furniture brand with a tropical vibe that is quite easy on the wallet.
Have you faced any challenges while launching the business in Singapore?
Up until now, it’s going quite smooth actually…
All items are made by craftsmen in your factories and workshops. How does this play a part in your design philosophy?
Yes, all items are handmade in our own workshop, which gives every single piece its own character. Though, a lot of the smaller rattan pieces are braided by craftsmen and –women at their homes and are collected once a week. This way they can stay with their families and earn a living at the same time.
The team is heavily involved in the design process. Tell us more about it from concept to finished product.
We keep our designs as close to nature as possible, using natural materials we source ourselves – like sustainable teak, rattan, bamboo, marble and brass – and authentic techniques. Good craftsmanship and only the best materials form the base for all our designs. We aim to finish a collection every three months, that’s the time it takes to create a new collection.
Elements Concept also furnishes many cafes, restaurants, hotels and beach clubs in Indonesia. How do you choose these projects/collaborations?
Correct, we are really proud of the projects we have done in Indonesia and actually we are also working on a few in Singapore as well. In these projects, we work together with interior designers who bring in a lot of creative ideas.
"My old time favourite is the Paul Arm Chair, which was originally designed as part of our project for the Katamama Hotel (Potato Head Group) in Seminyak, Bali. Or is it the Straw Parasol…? Or the Palm Lantern…? Or the huge rattan pendant lamps…? So hard to choose!"
What are some highlights the brand has seen recently?
The launch in Singapore and the way the brand is welcomed here is a huge highlight. Also the collaboration within The Attaby Collective is something we’re really excited about.
Tell us about the collection. Do you have a favourite piece? Any exciting pieces/collections coming down the pipeline?
After a very successful launch of Elements Concept in Singapore in February of this year, it’s time to introduce the second collection to our enthusiastic customers in the little Red Dot in June. With this second collection, we continue to build on Elements Concepts principles of high-quality, beautifully handcrafted furniture and home decor made of the best materials in up-to-date designs for a price that doesn’t hurt your wallet too much.
New in this collection is the addition of a butler trolley, a perfect eye catcher in your interior. And big trendy plant pots to bring the green jungle in your house. Furthermore, Elements Concept added a wider variety of cabinets, dining tables, lounge chairs, sofas and accessories.
But my old time favourite is the Paul Arm Chair, which was originally designed as part of our project for the Katamama Hotel (Potato Head Group) in Seminyak, Bali. Or is it the Straw Parasol…? Or the Palm Lantern…? Or the huge rattan pendant lamps…? So hard to choose ; )
There are also some things we make just because we think it is cool. Like our unique Volkswagen van from the sixties completely covered in rattan. We are now working on a boat and in the process of building an Elements Villa in Lombok, which will function as a small retreat to relax and inspire.
Elements Concept is now available at TheAC (The Attaby Collective). How did this collaboration come to be?
I met the founder of TheAC, Claire Chahil (also the founder of the fashion brand Attaby), through a friend. Claire told me about her plans to collaborate with different independent brands to open a boutique department store where customers can discover a wide range of products from different brands. That sounded like a marvellous plan.
What can visitors expect to see in the store?
A thoughtfully curated selection of independent brands offering unique designs from women’s, men’s and kids’ fashion, active wear and jewellery to furniture and home accessories.
You can read more about TheAC here.