Abie Abdillah is a young Indonesian furniture designer who has a passion for local materials, especially wood and rattan, a sustainable material from South East Asia. A rattan palm grows very rapidly, is somewhat similar to bamboo but much solid and flexible. Abie is gaining international recognition for the way he creates modern, striking designs relying on a traditional natural material.
Why did you start in furniture design? And why the interest in rattan material?
Furniture design and especially working with rattan material has always been my passion. Rattan is a typically Indonesian material but unfortunately the industry is struggling lately. Many rattan furniture manufacturers have had to close. I’m trying to show the potential of the material by focusing on really striking design. I think I’m really blessed to live in an emerging design country that has an abundance of great materials.
Can you tell us a little about your work process and method?
I usually start out by exploring the character of the material that I am going to use, and the possible techniques that can be applied. Also it is important to understand the design objective, especially in terms of the target market. Once settled on that I start to do and also the possible technique to explore the materials. It is really important as well to sketches and 3D visualizations before taking further step on manufacturing the prototype.
What is a typical day like for you? How do you organise your days?
In my workspace, I mostly do designing and all the necessary preparations for the prototype productions (technical drawing, 1 to 1 scale drawing, etc.). And when all of these are set, then I am off to the manufacturing company to produce my designs.
“Design is always about creating a bond between aesthetic value, work process, craftsmanship and the material itself.”
Do you enjoy your work? Why? What exactly makes it all worth it?
Totally! All of the processes are totally worthwhile! It is a non-stop learning process each time I create something. From learning the characteristics of a material, learning the production techniques from craftsmen, and the most important thing is receiving feedback from consumers. It is satisfying to know that someone really appreciates my work.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Everything around me. For me, design is always about creating a bond between aesthetic value, work process, craftsmanship and the material itself. By combining these aspects, I believe a designer can add value to their designs, but also create a story for each product that they created.
Can you tell us a little about your workspace – how have your organised your workspace to create a stimulating work environment?
A table with sketchbook, pen, computer, a cup of coffee and music from Pure Saturday, The Temper Trap, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Muse.
What sort of skills do you need to do your work?
Do you have one tip for other aspirant creatives?
Realize your ideas! Don’t stop only in your mind. Take further steps to make it real.