The firm’s furniture brings the clean aesthetic of their residential projects into a broader array of homes
Not many folks can lay claim to a personal home with international design status, but then Christine Ho Ping Kong and Peter Tan are not your average couple. It’s Saturday morning at their Courtyard House, one of the most famous iterations of residential architecture Toronto has seen since the millennium. The Asian-inspired home and office is also the project that launched Studio Junction, the duo’s award-winning architecture firm. Now, in their studio, located in their ivy-covered abode, Ho Ping Kong’s and Tan’s original tables, credenzas and tea carts beam in muted white oak and rich walnut. More than 10 years after its exciting debut, Studio Junction has set its sights on a new pursuit: a furniture line.
“We’ve always been interested in blurring the line between what is furniture, what is built-in and what is really part of the home,” says Tan. The architect and his team also run Studio Junction’s woodworking shop, lending experts’ eyes to millwork-intensive projects like the famed Mjölk shop-house in the Junction and Soma Chocolatemaker’s Scandinavian-style shop on King West. Somewhere along the way, clients began requesting custom furniture. With the commissions, Studio Junction discovered an essential new thread.
“For us, furniture is one of the more tactile outcomes of an architectural process. We don’t consider them separate,” says Tan. “Previously, you had a holistic vision for a house,” says Ho Ping Kong, “and it carried through to the furnishing, the light fixtures and the landscape.”
The same sensibilities that set them apart in the architecture world shine in the streamlined collection. The floating credenzas fade into the home and borrow the slatted reveals of the Courtyard House’s built-in shelving. Quarter-sawn white oak for the coffee table results in a gorgeously clean grain and subtle Scandinavian edge. The walnut credenza is the portrait of hybridity: a soapstone slab provides the function of a pouring station, and an interior lighting system glows behind translucent Japanese rice paper. “We ourselves have been trying to get this soft light into our living room,” says Tan, “and we thought, ‘why not incorporate it into the furniture?’”
The pieces bear the unmistakable tradition of solid wood joinery, tapered dowels and solid wood connections. It’s a mastery in the details that even the untrained eye will savour.