LAST_UPDATETue, 22 May 2018 11am

Talented Duo's Mission In Revitalizing The Art Of Wood Artistry

Malaysia has deep cultural roots in the ancient art of woodcarving which has been eclipsed by rapid urbanization and industrialization. So, when we have talented young Malaysians willing to explore and revitalize this fine art form, we should offer our undivided support.

Kudos to hardworking Malaysian artisans like the founders of Fine Grit Studio who choose to specialize in wood artistry and work day and night to create one-of-a-kind products that embrace our culture. It’s only timely that we celebrate our craftspeople and help put Malaysia on the (design) map.

First established in October 2014, local furniture design company Fine Grit Studio was found by two 26 year old graduates who decided to join forces in the creation of intricately designed woodcraft and furniture with a touch of modern minimalist. Barely a year into its establishment, Fine Grit Studio has already gained positive recognition from local design industry and design enthusiasts.

We first came across Fine Grit Studio on Designation.co, a retail store that stocks various products from independent and local designers with a brick-and-mortar shop in Publika. Fiqkri Ismail, manager of Fine Grit Studio, shared with Malaysian Digest the background of this homegrown up-and-coming furniture design company.

Wood artistry pioneers

Left to right: Daniel, Fiqkri, and AsyrafLeft to right: Daniel, Fiqkri, and Asyraf“The founders of the company are Daniel Salehuddin and Khairul Asyraf Zulkifli. Daniel started his own business in 2013 before Asyraf decided to join him in 2014 after he graduated. They’re basically schoolmates and it never occurred to them to work together, but somehow it turns out well,” explained the manager.

Daniel is an industrial design graduate with a background in metal working, while Asyraf is a mechanical engineering graduate with a focus in design and innovation. “Our love and obsession with wood is unlike any other woodworking craftsmen.

“Our aim is to not only produce remarkable woodcraft, we find it equally important to expose and share the beautiful characteristics of our local wood to everyone who appreciates fine crafts, regardless of their geographic location.

“Daniel is passionate in making stuff ever since he was a kid and continues doing so by woodworking; basically turns his passion into his job. While Asyraf, on the other hand, loves designing new stuff and does sketching in his free time.”

What started out as a fun collaborative project to surprise a newlywed friend has led the latter into woodworking, and the rest is history.

Wood carving calligraphy for wall deco and custom-made boxWood carving calligraphy for wall deco and custom-made box

Creating awareness about local wood

Furniture shouldn’t just be a matter of practicality; it should also be pleasing to the eyes, particularly for those who appreciate the intricacies, the rigorous process and the effort made by the artisans in crafting their works of art.

“The company is trying its best to expose wood culture in Malaysia, educate and at the same time learn something new in each project that the company was assigned to. We use local wood to create awareness on the quality that it possess when making our product,” said Fiqkri, who’s also fondly known as Piki.

The company, which is based in Bangi and has managed to attract customers as far as Canada and Singapore, views local hard wood – such as nyatoh or meranti – as being more fitting to our local climate; in turn making it durable and long-lasting. When it comes to producing furniture, several factors are taken into account, like the type of wood or the weather condition.

Aside from designing and making furniture which include dining tables, stools, wardrobes, and book shelves, Fine Grit Studio also does wood carved calligraphy (for wall decoration) and custom-made boxes.

For those who have a specific design or idea in mind, they may bring it along. “Daniel and Asyraf have engineering backgrounds, so we can advice on the structure and stability as well as the right design to make it more practical and ergonomics,” Fiqkri replied.

At the moment, the furniture design company is also providing woodworking class for anyone interested in learning the foundation of furniture making, with no experience needed.

“We don’t actually expect people to know how to handle the machine in the first place; hence we will be there every step of the way to guide, help and educate them in the ins and outs of woodworking. Participants will know more about the basic machine used in making furniture, and how to operate them.”

Fiqkri further explained about the company’s future plans, “We are planning to do e-commerce as well as setting up a shop on Etsy to approach wider audience. We also have a few other future plans in mind,” he said.

Fine Grit Studio is working towards having their own factory so they could have products that are mass produced, before moving on to have their own interior designers and architects; all the while building an empire where they can design, build, and manufacture furniture for a residential area.

“Last but not least is to have our own café where we can showcase our own products. Let's pray for the best,” Fiqkri concluded.

For more information about Fine Grit Studio, check them out at www.finegritstudio.com, or follow them on Instagram at @finegritstudio.

*All photo credit goes to Fine Grit Studio.


- Malaysian Digest