We recently caught up with Sun at Six, to learn more about the brand and where their inspiration is pulled from:
Tell us the history of your brand:
Sun at Six first began working with traditional joinery masters over 30 years ago in 1988, learning and working with old masters in Beijing. Today, we continue their work with joinery masters out of Guangzhou in southern China. Sun at Six specializes in this Chinese woodworking technique, continuing a long history of craftsmanship with their work now featured in the Forbidden City.
We make our furniture using classical Chinese joinery, a fading traditional art form passed down from generation to generation, which uses intricate, interwoven joints to create furniture without the use of any nails or screws.
By using this intricate joinery system, the furniture can acclimatize in real time to extreme changes in temperature and humidity, which cause most furniture to crack and warp.
The joinery in the furniture allows the wood to “breathe” during large swings in temperature or humidity, letting the furniture expand and contract to prevent cracks and warping.
Today, the use of traditional joinery techniques has begun to fade. The complex joints are more expensive and difficult to cut, and fewer craftsmen remain who possess the specialized knowledge required. Though production of classical pieces has dwindled, Sun at Six aims to create new opportunities by applying traditional technique to new design. We aim to preserve traditional joinery techniques and maintain the traditional artform that is classical Chinese joinery.
What serves as inspiration when creating new products?
When designing new pieces, we like to think about spaces and how they should feel overall – should a room be soft and warm, or austere and meditative? The overall feeling is the sum of many individual pieces of furniture, objects, and belongings, which together form a sort of tapestry that gives a room its character. So when we design, we like to think of how an individual piece of furniture should fit into a space tonally – what emotions should it bring, how much should it catch your attention versus fade into the background? That’s where we start, and we look at form, texture, details, materials, colors, etc, to fit this goal. With this in mind, oftentimes the inspiration for pieces can come from the atmosphere in a space – being in a wide open meadow, sitting quietly in a dim hall with candles flickering behind linens draped from the ceiling. We sometimes try to think about how to capture the feeling of those places and evoke those places with furniture.
What market are your products designed for?
One of our aims with our work is that it’s versatile – that our work can fit a variety of spaces and withstand changes in what you want a space to look and feel like. This in part helps us fit a larger (albeit still niche) market. Our customers tend to prefer high end, enduring furniture that will last, that has a story and history behind it, with our focus on traditional joinery. We do a fair amount of work for interior designers, hospitality, high end residential work, in addition to office spaces.
Describe the process your team goes through when creating a new product:
We go through several rounds of design when creating a new piece. After we figure out the direction, concept, feel that we want, we start with sketching. We try to sketch a ton of ideas, good, bad, and ugly, and gradually zone in on the ones that work. From there, we refine until we’re happy, work on dimensions and comfort, engineer the piece for production and material usage, and then prototype. We then test the piece (we design our work for commercial use) before bringing it out for launch! Because we’re a small studio, it’s a pretty flexible process; we don’t have set release cycles or seasons like large retailers. We design and launch as it makes sense for us, and when we feel like the moment is right for new work.
Where are your products manufactured?
At our factory in Guangzhou, China.
New Collection Launch:
We recently launched our collection, Figures at Home, which is designed around grand graphic gestures that define each piece. From the zig-zag baffles of the Zafal tables, to the soft arch of the Temi chair, each graphic gesture is designed to be bold & memorable while subtle enough to blend a space together. This collection was designed around creating focal points of varying hierarchy to control how the eye is drawn throughout a space.
Just as a photographer will set up various objects in a composition to guide the viewer’s eye through the photograph, in designing Figures at Home, Sun at Six has aimed to design objects to guide viewers’ eyes through a room. Each piece from the collection leads the viewer: from the colorful, piped legs of the Temi lounge chair to the gentle curve of the Ovie coffee table.
Check out Sun at Six products on Hello Raye!
Follow Sun at Six on Instagram: @sunatsix, or on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sunatsix