Defy the Norm

Posted by Commune on May 9, 2019 1:08:35 PM

In Shop the Look

Volta’s show of decadence and luxury in the choice of solid walnut wood and genuine leather glorifies individual opulence, looking utterly upmarket. As classic pieces with a contemporary edge, Volta is for the unconventional individual who enjoys the classy, sophisticated look in fashion, but also something provocative, unorthodox, and in-your-face – someone who is comfortable with the mix of both sides.

Defy the Norm - Volta furniture collection by Commune 1

Commune's Volta coffee table ($699, Sale Price $559.20), Volta end table ($499, Sale Price $399.20), and Volta sofa ($3,999, Sale Price $3,599.10). Featuring Volta Solid Walnut Wood Furniture with Brass in an original design by Commune

Interview by Bonnie Oeni

A STRANGE DUALITY exists in the VOLTA collection, the brainchild of Commune’s Brand & Design Director, Julian Koh. At once packing both a refined elegance and a raw, grunge-like spirit, the solid walnut wood collection paired with leather and brass finishings reveals and celebrates both of these perspectives at once. In this edgy collection, the consumer will be able to enjoy glimpses at a standalone world that exists between both polar ends.

Similar relationships can be found throughout Julian’s furniture designs: that of the industrial and the poetic, the temporary trend and the ever-permanent classic, or the retro and the contemporary. Commune is a complex litany of juxtapositions – an eclectic collection of different styles over time.

Defy the Norm - Volta furniture collection by Commune 2

Commune's Volta Sideboard ($2,699, Sale Price $2,159.20).


“At the time I started Commune, I was committed to the idea of creating furniture true to its namesake that would be at the heart of a cosy home-making experience – to show that harmonious contrasts are possible,” muses Julian. “Through designing furniture in different styles such as mid-century modern, Scandinavian, modern minimalist, and yet with a timeless universality that allows furniture from across the different collections to be easily mixed and matched, I was trying to show that even if multiple people in a home have different personalities or design tastes, they can come together and find something at Commune that will comfortably accommodate everyone.”

This means that Commune’s aesthetic is never fixed, and is ever evolving. Julian is trained to keep his eye on the pulse of the international design world, and to seek inspiration from international design trends. But he doesn’t stop there. He ventures beyond to look at youthful and popular movements in fashion, or dig deep into his nation’s shared heritage, or feel the sharp evocations of nostalgia, travel, nature, his surroundings and emotions.


Commune's Volta dining table in 1.6 & 2.2m, from $2,299, Now from $1,839.20. 
Commune's Volta side chair ($569, Now $455.20).

As Julian introduces the Volta collection against a moody, darkened interior filled with neon lights, funky photo collages, and chill-out house music, the boutique Volta collection looks like it would be right at home in both an industrial bachelor pad, or a swanky cocktail lounge. It best showcases Commune’s continued evolution and coming-of-age process as a design brand. Embodying supreme confidence, Volta is all about the harmony of bold contrasts – showcasing bold creativity from opposing spectrums. Underlying the collection’s sophistication is a raw and rebellious spirit.

Incredibly nuanced, Julian talks about using radicalism and rebellion in both a strong yet subtle way. At a glance, Volta is about mixing rebellion with elegance, and downtown cool with uptown class. Rustic walnut wood combines with elegant leather elements and brass accents for a surprisingly garage-chic look, proving that even the most industrial of looks can be refined. “Look at the ergonomics of the dining table,” Julian says as he goes over the smooth edges of the Volta dining table and its unique leather underside. “It’s designed to be smooth, because I wanted it to be comfortable, and a tactile experience for whoever sits at the dining table.” He then points out the chairs. “Everything is designed to be light, and to look like it’s floating, so that it’s sophisticated. The legs are slim, perfectly shaped, and the chevron-patterned stitching and use of leather is fashionable like those used on luxury bags.”

Defy the Norm - Volta furniture collection by Commune 4

Volta’s show of decadence and luxury in the choice of solid walnut wood and genuine leather glorifies individual opulence, looking utterly upmarket. As classic pieces with a contemporary edge, Volta is for the unconventional individual who enjoys the classy, sophisticated look in fashion, but also something provocative, unorthodox, and in-your-face – someone who is comfortable with the mix of both sides.

“I started from the idea to ‘defy the norm’, to do the unexpected, to create pieces that would have personality and a story to tell. I wanted to create statement pieces that would stand out on their own. I wanted the Volta collection to feel like a star in its own right. So I was going for bold contrasts, I was thinking about what a rock musician’s home might look like, and that added a rockstar edge in the design,” Julian adds. He introduces the sideboard, and tells tales about how the sideboard is inspired by his experience as a hobbyist musician and rock concert fan growing up, as it is designed to mimic a guitar amplifier. With its sound-absorbent fabric imported from Turkey, Julian claims that when music is played in the environment it is placed in, the fabric will equally absorb the sound and start to vibrate along, creating the sense that the sideboard is musically alive – just like a guitar amplifier.

Defy the Norm - Volta furniture collection by Commune 3

Commune's Volta sofa and chaise lounge come in five different configurations, and combinations of denim fabric/leather.

“The Volta sofa comes with interchangeable fabric and leather sides – in half-leather, half-fabric,” Julian explains as he walks over to a stylish chaise lounge and two-seater sofa, decked out with both a denim look and a posh natural brown leather. “I always wondered if furniture could just be like fashion. We like so many different looks in fashion. Why can’t we change what we want to wear when we feel like it, or when it’s suitable? That’s what I was thinking when I designed this – I wanted people to be able to change the sofa cushions according to their mood or climate – perhaps fabric for when they’re feeling more casual and when the weather is warm, and leather when they’re feeling more luxe and when the weather is cooler,” Julian expresses earnestly.

These personal and imaginative touches mean that with Volta, you can embrace both the light and the dark sides; your home can look elegant yet rebellious at the same time. The collection is designed for those who are fun, young, daring and quirky.


Commune's Volta side chair ($569, Now $455.20).

“With Commune, it’s always about creating a distinctive point of difference – establishing ourselves as an unconventional, international contemporary furniture and lifestyle brand. I’m interested in Commune becoming a trend-setter, a brand that is thought-provoking, modern, energetic and culturally relevant. So we have to do this by pushing the traditional boundaries of furniture design and how furniture is typically conceived,” Julian affirms.

With its daring and authentic designs such as Volta, Commune aims to position itself as a visionary brand, with a passion to deliver the extraordinary, on a fearless quest for innovation.

Commune's Volta end tables in luxurious black leather, black American walnut wood and brass trimmings

Commune's Volta coffee table ($699, Sale Price $559.20), Volta end table ($499, Sale Price $399.20).

Established in 2011, Commune is a home-grown furniture design and lifestyle company that originated in Singapore, crafting high quality artisanal works for the design savvy. As a brand with growing international presence and aspirations, Commune encapsulates quiet modernity; unifying function, effortless form and intelligent craftsmanship. Commune’s designs are human-centric, with beauty and the needs of the modern individual as two essential considerations in its conceptualisation process. The brand’s commitment to quality is reflected in our involvement across the full production process – from creative conceptualisation to the eventual manufacture of each final product. A strong advocate for sustainability, Commune also uses eco-conscious wood and timber imported from sustainable sources in USA and Asia, and lacquers and coatings with low lead content.

With our distinctive and form-fitting designs, our furniture provides smart solutions for trendy urbanites and apartment living. Each piece is sized to fit comfortably within the small living spaces typical of city life, and thoughtfully priced to be accessible to a wide range of customers. To date, Commune has established a strong regional presence with over 40 stores spanning across China, four in Singapore, three in Malaysia, one in Australia and one in the Philippines.


Commune's Volta TV unit ($2,499, Now $1,999.20).

Shop the featured Volta Collection here.


Visit us in store:

Flagship Store
Millenia Walk
9 Raffles Boulevard #02-52
Singapore 039596
Weekdays: 11:30AM - 9:00PM
Weekends: 11:00AM - 9:00PM
+65 6338 3823

Commune Experience Centre
28 Defu Lane 4
Singapore 539424
Weekdays: 9:00AM - 5:45PM
Weekends: 9:00AM - 7:00PM
+65 6282 9086

IMM Store
2 Jurong East Street 21, #02-06
Singapore 609601
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Weekends: 11:00AM - 9:00PM
+65 6563 1761

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