How Singapore Brand Roger&Sons Makes Local Timber The Focus Of Their Wood Furniture
Woodworking, already far from a glamorous job, involves considerable skill and physical effort, with the artisans toiling away in a hot and humid workshop. Yet the enterprising brothers behind Roger & Sons have chosen to give up the comforts of a more conventional work environment, all for the dedication to their craft and their love for nature.
“Woodworking brings a lot of memories to my brothers and I, as our dad often brought us to his workshop when we were kids,” shares Morgan Yeo, the eldest of the three siblings who run Roger & Sons. The 32-year-old leads the business strategy of the company; his youngest brother, Ryan, who turns 25 this year, is the firm’s operational manager and carpenter, while the 29-year-old Lincoln oversees the creative direction of the firm.
Under their leadership, the company started using local salvage wood to reduce its carbon footprint and to make its production methods more eco-conscious.
“We realised that Singapore has been cutting down a large number of trees due to urban development over the years—this has resulted in thousands of logs that are currently sitting in the sawmills, waiting to be turned into mulch or pallet wood,” shares Morgan. “Most companies in Singapore typically import wood from neighbouring countries as well as from the US and Europe; there is a lack of interest in developing and upgrading the local infrastructure to process our local timber.”
This kickstarted the firm’s Local Tree Project in 2019, wherein the company repurposes timber from felled trees, derived primarily from three species—Angsana, Khaya and Raintree—that were first planted along Singapore roads in 1967.
The brand recently received a research grant from DesignSingapore Council to further their knowledge of these tree varieties. “Many people don’t believe that Singapore has the resources; we want to work with the available materials that we have, rather than constantly shipping in wood from overseas,” says Lincoln. “As individuals we can’t do much, but as an industry, we can solve this problem together.”
The brothers aim to maximise the use of each log: everything from the bark and branches to the sawdust from these locally sourced trees can be repurposed to create decorative objects and made-upon-order furniture. These include the daybed and whisky cabinet crafted in angsana (pictured above), specially designed and available exclusively at Tatler Homes Curates.
The firm also uses eco-conscious finishes. Take, for instance, its wooden tableware and dining tables, which are finished with organic beeswax from Nutrinest, a local beekeeper that rehomes bee hives into its apiary. “We hope that this would spark interest in local trees; each tree that we work with has a story to tell,” says Morgan.
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In the future, the firm hopes to organise more educational workshops to share its knowledge and passion for both woodwork and plant life; it’s a project that Ryan is particularly fond of. “It’s about getting the general public one step closer to handmaking; we’ve conducted workshops on wooden desk organisers, toys and chopsticks,” he says. Adds Lincoln: “We love what we do; rather than make ‘fast furniture’ for the landfill, we believe that furniture should be handed down over the generations as heirloom pieces.”
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- Art Direction Jana Tan
- Photography Darren Gabriel Leow
- Grooming Benedict Choo, using Clé de Peau Beauté