MAD3 Studio: Passionate about typography and mad about furniture design

From left to right: Desmond Phang, Tang Mun Kian and Bernard Chong are partners in MAD3, a design studio. — Pictures by Choo Choy May and courtesy of MAD3 Studio
From left to right: Desmond Phang, Tang Mun Kian and Bernard Chong are partners in MAD3, a design studio. — Pictures by Choo Choy May and courtesy of MAD3 Studio

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — The founders of furniture brand MAD3 Studio are not just mad about design but totatally committed to doing it well. “We call ourselves MAD3 Studio because there are three of us and we are crazy about ideas, really passionate about making things happen,” said Bernard Chong.

Chong and his former colleagues Tang Mun Kian and Desmond Phang met 10 years ago in an advertising agency. All three of them were in the design team and last November, they decided to set up MAD3 Studio, a design company that specialises in furniture.

For their debut collection, MAD3 Studio introduced a series of chairs and bar stools made from steel tubes and PVC cords. These chairs are not a new design, but a nostalgic one most Malaysians will be familiar with... remember that plastic cord chair you sat on as a child while you were being fed on the porch?

Modern meets old-school in the form of the plastic cord chair.
Modern meets old-school in the form of the plastic cord chair.

What makes MAD3 Studio’s designs stand out is that the furniture is shaped like typography.... alphabets like B, X, W and a few more. The inspiration to use typography is because they come from a design background in advertising where typography features prominently.

“The reason we started out was because Mun Kian has a work space in George Town, Penang and he wanted to furnish it. We started designing chairs for his space and it ended up being a product. Our friends got to know about the chairs and they encouraged us to sell them,” said Phang.

The ‘b’ chair is shaped like the letter ‘b’.
The ‘b’ chair is shaped like the letter ‘b’.

Tang wanted a chair that was light and airy hence he chose the design of the ubiquitous plastic cord chair. The trio then came up with a modern, contemporary design that focuses on quality craftsmanship by a local supplier. “The people who make these chairs are almost extinct. We want to support the local craftsmen,” said Chong. MAD3 Studio will send drawings to the supplier so the chairs can be made.

Although the design team do not make the chairs themselves, they have picked up the skill of weaving chairs. “We send a mock-up for the chairs to be made. Once we have more money, we will invest in the machine that is needed to make the chairs,” said Phang.

Looking forward, MAD3 Studio plans to have their own workshop where they will make their own chairs as well as other types of furniture. Even though they currently outsource their production to a supplier it is tough for the craftsman to make it per their specification so MAD3 Studio is there to supervise the work.

What letter does this stool looks like to you?
What letter does this stool looks like to you?

With six types of designs now available, MAD3 Studio will also include tables in their repertoire in the future. This is still in the R&D stage. “We plan to have a full range of products. Our direction is very different from other companies who design plastic cord chairs. They focus on re-creating retro styles while we are into modern shapes in simple forms. We are inspired by typography so it is more contemporary,” said Tang.

Currently the three of them hold day jobs but eventually they want to go into MAD3 full-time. When that happens, they plan to set up an office, workshop and also the capability to produce their own prototypes.

MAD3’s L7 chair is a looker you would want for your bar.
MAD3’s L7 chair is a looker you would want for your bar.

“We enjoy working with craftsmen because it is exciting to share ideas. For now our chairs are sold in DESIGNation only. The pricing is from RM350 to RM750 depending on the material used,” said Chong.

Their chairs come in yellow, electric blue, white and black colours which are very contemporary and suit their design ethos. The popular designs are from the BULAT range, the X-chair and the W bench. MAD3 Studio are also in the midst of developing a steel mesh range.

Shop for the MAD3 Studio collection at:

DESIGNation
Art Row, Publika Shopping Mall
Lot 54, Block B3, Level G2
Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 12pm-9pm daily
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mad3studio
Instagram: www.instagram.com/mad3studio

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