Sans Pareil – How did you come into the industry? Is it because you come from a family lineage in this area? Do you think you were always going to head that way?
William Chiang – I didn’t know I would be doing furniture design when I started in my family’s business, but as I got into the restoration workshop in the antique business, I was fascinated by woodworking. Luckily we were doing a lot of export business to other countries, so I was exposed to many different styles of furniture when I travelled to visit clients. Slowly I developed my own taste in furniture. I then started making them in our workshop and that’s how I got started in furniture design.
SP – What inspires your particular style?
WC – Mostly mid-century Scandinavian style.
SP – Have any other designers encouraged or motivated you?
WC – Yes, I was working with Giordano Caldarini for a couple of years designing furniture for the business.
SP – How important is recycling and sustainability to you?
WC – I did recycle old wood at the beginning to make furniture, but lately I switched to new wood with an FSC certificate. I think using sustainable wood is important especially we are making solid wood pieces. It’s important to me to still be able to go hiking in the forest. It’s true we need to balance what we consume so our future generations can enjoy the same, or hopefully a better environment.
SP – Can you explain the process from the drawing board to the customer?
WC – Wow, it’s long process with a great many details involved. We have a lot of meetings with our customers to really get a feel for what they want, then screen those ideas to find out what works and what doesn’t. We then design the pieces and work with our factory for production planning. Lastly, we need to carefully put them together so customers can receive them in the shortest time at the best quality. That’s the short version, I didn’t want to bore you with too many details.
SP – How do you balance keeping up with the modern times but still staying with your brand’s unique history?
WC – I think it’s about understanding what’s going on in the market place and filter what is related into our brand, then we come up with our own style of furniture that is updated but still reflects our style. It’s also important to understand what modern consumers need and implement those needs into our furniture.
SP – Where next for Elmood?
WC – At this stage, we are looking to work with more designers from a range of different backgrounds and cultures to create a unique international brand.
SP – Lastly, what advice would you give to someone starting out in your industry?
WC – Be passionate about creating objects from scratch and be prepared to be challenged.