Quaint Finds: Commune

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Commune 
88, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar
59000 Kuala Lumpur  
Tel: (03) 2201 6913 
Website: www.thecommunelife.com 

CONCEPT

Commune made its debut in 2011 in Singapore to resonate with consumers who have a passion for avant-garde furniture. It is part of its parent company Koda Ltd’s vision to reach out to consumers who value unique and contemporary design. To expand the brand to Malaysia, it formed a joint partnership with Commune Furniture Sdn Bhd to distribute the furniture. 

At the first flagship store in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Commune aims to bring products that exude individuality, sophistication and elegance. As its name suggests, the brand hopes to provide customers with a living environment that will allow them to comfortably “commune” with their loved ones. Promoting the philosophy that furniture should suit the lifestyle one leads, it has a team of interior decorators available to advise and assist customers.

The furniture is all about emotional appeal. “When you come to Commune, you don’t just buy furniture. You also buy emotion. We are changing the business model of how furniture is sold by bringing feeling into it. We want out client to ‘communicate’ with their pieces of choice,” says Koda Ltd executive director of marketing, Ernie Koh. 

The store has a comforting environment and simple furnishings. Design elements used in the store such as solid oak wood platforms, cement flooring and black metal complement the array of wooden furniture and soft furnishings. Commune follows a “green culture” concept in its products and designs, using materials from responsibly harvested trees and easily recyclable materials. Most of the wooden furniture in the store is created from American walnut wood, which is known for its high quality.

There are plans to expand nationwide, starting with another concept store in Johor Baru this month. The management has ambitious plans for expansion globally as well. It currently has 20 franchised stores, mostly in China. “We are targeting to open 150 shops in the next three years, especially in China,” Koh adds. 

AMBIENCE 

The showroom space has a clean and simple backdrop that allows customers to take in the furniture easily. There is a welcoming air of warmth, as though you are entering a friend’s home. 

On the day we visited the store, it was raining heavily and the combination of the gloomy weather with the clever interior lighting and sleek design highlighted how Commune had managed to achieve its concept of modern simplicity. The various shades of solid wood furniture located throughout the showroom were complemented but not overshadowed by neutral-coloured furnishings such as grey rugs, blue quilt covers and brown leather sofas.  

Aside from the wooden furniture, a prominent feature in the store is the unique metal lights that are also sold under the Commune label. Coming in various sizes and shapes, they are hung on walls or stand beside furniture. Made in India, the lights further emphasise the showroom’s cozy ambience.

DESIGN STUDIO 

Commune combines subtle rustic elements with an industrial aesthetic. It focuses on creating a distinctly homely yet chic feel. The simple designs have an extra touch of versatility that offers consumers limitless possibilities in decorating their homes.   

Commune’s in-house Sensory Design lab is manned by a team of experienced designers headed by Julian Koh. Julian has teamed up with several influential designers such as Molten Georgsen and Luigi Garbarino. 

“Our design team goes to exhibitions in Milan and the US to seek inspiration and ideas as well as understand trends,” Commune executive director Christine Chooi says. 

Targeted at the young, urban individual, Commune’s distinctive and form-fitting designs are very suitable for small living spaces. 

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This article first appeared in The Edge haven, on Issue #70 December 2014 + January 2015.