Singapore Fashion Brand Ong Shunmugam Launches Suvarnabumi Tableware Line
I still remember the moment when I had first encountered the early collections of Ong Shunmugam as a young(er) journalist in the early 2010s. Priscilla Shunmugam’s eponymous womenswear brand stood out by fearlessly combined bold patterns and Asian-influenced details; elements that still remain true to the label today.
Most notably, Shunmugam was also among the first local brands to make traditional styles such as cheongsam appealing to the modern urbanite. Gone were the stuffy image associated with these clothing, with crop tops and mandarin collars becoming the de rigueur for the modern Singapore woman who still appreciates that touch of heritage in her wardrobe.
Almost a decade later, the fashion designer now charts a new milestone with Suvarnabumi, a homeware line that takes cues from the same creative philosophy as her namesake brand.
Now available online and at Atelier Ong Shunmugam, the first Suvarnabumi collection comprises 11 pieces inspired by Asian dining rituals and traditional tableware. Items include porcelain pieces, cutlery, placemats and napkins that “breathes offbeat edge into predictable table settings”, as its designer would put it. Plates, bowls and saucers are created in Arita, Japan, and manufactured in partnership with homegrown brand Supermama and Japanese porcelain maker Kihara.
“We’ve taken our directions from a Southeast Asian context rich in terrestrial biodiversity, spices and symbols, and mashed them up with varied genres and brushwork compositions to form a repertoire that’s truly independent of decorative restrictions or auspicious implications,” explains Shunmugam.
Each piece features an illustration that Shunmugam has designed and illustrated, featuring a playful mix of tropical flora and fauna motifs which include the slow loris, pitcher plant and atlas moth. These are arranged in symmetrical compositions that bring to mind the Rorschach test, while still being reminiscent of traditional Chinese porcelain with the use of cobalt oxide pigment as its underglaze.
Altogether, the collection comes together beautifully as an elegant collage of Asian influences; as pretty on the dining table or on the shelves as display plates lovingly showcased by the home-proud owner.
The Ong Shunmugam Suvarnabumi line is available online and at Atelier Ong Shunmugam, 43 Jalan Merah Saga #01-76