SHAH ALAM, July 5 — Although Nurul Syazninabila Mohd Ghazali (better known as Nabila) spent seven years studying architecture, the 26-year-old did not become an architect. Instead, she now runs Cuts Studio where she does laser cutting and woodworking.
“I feel that in Malaysia, architects struggle a lot. There are also limitations on what you can design because there are guidelines you need to follow. When I studied architecture in Scotland, it was much more open when it came to architecture. I do laser-cutting and woodworking because I want to design more freely,” said Nabila.
Nabila headed to London — after she completed her studies in Scotland and returning to Malaysia — to do a short course on woodworking, model making and laser cutting at Central Saint Martins, an art school in London, before coming back to start Cuts Studio.
When she was studying architecture in Scotland, her professors and lecturers told her that she was better at model making.
“I do like architecture because it helped me a lot but I decided to go for something that I love. In architecture, I got to explore a lot of things so I don’t think my education in architecture went to waste,” she said.
In Malaysia, laser cutting is still new and is a very niche market. There are a lot of model-making companies which focus more on architecture, but she noted that not many companies do laser cutting for design.
Some of the things Nabila does are cake toppers (ready-made and custom designs), signage (like open and closed signs), banners, quotes, Kufi art and laser engraving on wood. As part of her woodworking business, she makes cake stands and decorations for children’s nurseries too.
She also has plans to make wooden furniture for children.
“My cake toppers are one of my best-sellers, as well as the Kufi art. Custom laser-cut names are also very popular among my customers,” said Nabila.
The laser-cutting machine she is using now is actually her second one. When she first started, she was still new to the industry so she bought a cheaper laser-cutting machine. Within six months, it stopped working!
There are no limitations to the designs she can make. For laser cutting, the machine is able to cut as thin as 1 millimetre and as thick as 2 centimetres. If it is laser engraving, there is no set thickness.
First, Nabila draws up the design on her computer then she plugs it in to the machine. She uses materials like wood or acrylic for her work. A laser beam will cut the material, using the vector lines based on the design fed by her from an Adobe Illustrator (AI) file.
“I learned everything along the way,” said Nabila. She has part-timers working at the laser cutting and woodworking workshop but the designs are still done by her. Between the two, Nabila prefers woodworking because it requires hands-on work. For laser cutting, she just designs on the computer and the machine basically does all the work.
Nabila started Cuts Studio in August 2014. Her customers find out about her purely through Instagram as she doesn’t have a website or a retail shop at the moment. She does hope to get a website and shop up and running by early next year. Currently, her products are sold on consignment basis at several shops including DESIGNation (http://designation.co/collections/cuts-studio) and home bakery, Baked in Chelsea (https://www.facebook.com/bakedinchelsea).
The young creative entrepreneur has also started an interior design company with her former housemate who has worked as an interior designer. Called Cuts ID, Nabila and her business partner already have three projects: a home, a cafe and a children’s nursery.
Cuts ID was not something Nabila planned. One of her Instagram followers contacted her and asked her out of the blue, to do the interior design for her home. The Instagram follower liked Nabila’s photos on her personal account (https://instagram.com/syazninabila/).
Check out Nabila’s work at www.instagram.com/cuts.studio