“Transform ordinary living spaces into extraordinary places.”
When I first arrived in Singapore, my quest for innovative design techniques led me to explore suppliers and manufacturers, searching for like-minded collaborators who shared my values and vision.
One of the standouts was ipse ipsa ipsum. Through visits and conversations with the founder, Saurabh Mangla, know as Sam, I have not only commissioned stunning custom pieces for clients (stay tuned for the reveal) and ventured into designing my own multifunctional piece of furniture from recycled materials.
Sam’s rich background in design, coupled with the company’s values, commitment to innovation in manufacturing using upcycled and recycled materials, and support for traditional crafting techniques, has left a lasting impression. I just had to share.
“We truly aim to craft better lives – for our community of artisans, clients and all stakeholders. We do this by using upcycled and recycled materials; by providing affordable and accessible pricing for customised and distinctive products.”
I am excited about creating more timeless pieces that not only minimise environmental impact but also support local artisans, spreading joy in every creation along the way.
Join me in celebrating the fusion of artistry, tradition, and sustainable innovation with ipse ipsa ipsum.
A little about ipse ipsa ipsum:
Reflecting a tapestry of individuals, artisans, and designers, ipse ipsa ipsum creates unique pieces that transform ordinary living spaces. Translating to “himself, herself, itself,” the brand celebrates the people and talent behind its success, preserving tradition to inspire a lifestyle less ordinary.
We celebrate the people behind the brand, preserve the craft, leveraging on unique materials to create social impact and sustainable futures. We engage in responsible manufacturing and commit to protecting the welfare of the diverse artisans we work with.
We persevere to preserve the rich, traditional customs and crafts passed down within the artisan families we work with and bring back dignity to their craft.
We focus on quality and longevity of our products and not on quantity liberating our design collaborators from designing for mass production. We keep our supply chains transparent.
We work with natural biodegradable materials and ensure to use our waste in design. We bring the materiality of our pieces onto our website with our AR tool, providing Omni channel experience.”
Focusing on alternative materials:
“We initiated the exploration of alternative materials a decade ago and it started by using reclaimed timber into our ecosystem. Over time, we expanded our material portfolio. During COVID, when the prices of the raw materials hit highs, we appointed a waste manager and started to look at the scrap we had at our scrapyard. We tried to recover as many materials as we can from it.
Striving for sustainability, we focused on recovering and repurposing materials. Slowly we progressed to do what is right for the earth as well as to what gives us a competitive advantage in our business.”
ipse ipsa ipsum selection of sustainable materials includes:
- Rice husks
- Cow dung paper
- Reclaimed wood
- Leather offcuts
- Natural stones
- Computer waste
- Coca Cola cans
- Organic cotton/materials
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
The Henderson self watering plant side table is part of a series of sustainable designs that uses off-cuts to create a unique pattern. Not only does it reduce our total output, it is also fitted with our self-watering Aqua Orb, the fuss-free solution to introduce greenery into your home.
I am enjoying the process of bringing together some of these glorious materials and textures to create a piece that is truly unique with a beautiful story.
A community of craftsman:
“At ipse ipsa ipsum we engage in responsible manufacturing and commit to protecting the welfare of the artisans we work with. Whether it is providing them with necessary tools to continue their craft, facility to do their making or training to upskill – we persevere to work with the artisans and bring back dignity to their craft.
Through our relationships with our community of craftsman in India, we are proud to help preserve time-honored traditions and skills that have been passed down through generations in every piece of craft we make. By working closely with
our artisans, we are providing meaningful income opportunities for individuals, their families and the communities.
Our processes allow for Social inclusion and create social equity for the artisans involved in making / hand craft. Our team in Singapore fosters an offline connection for customers and artisans and takes customers on a post-sale customer engagement journey where the customer is repeatedly engaged with the maker and the making process.”
Upcycling retired A-380 parts (circular economy):
“The Upcycled collection project with the Singapore Airlines (SIA) used the retired parts of A-380 for aviation enthusiasts. Use of waste (e.g. Airline Parts ) means less landfill, second life to materials and less usage of new materials.
This collection is all about repurposing the various parts of the aircraft and converting them into unique and exclusive pieces of furniture. From Business Class seats to overhead compartments of the retired A-380 planes, these once-magnificent cabin components are upcycled to more meaningful, reimagined into beautiful items that are built to last.
The Towkay Chair from the collection is an award-winning Singapore Airlines Business Class seat ,which was introduced into the airline’s fleet back in 2006. Fresh life is breathed into the spacious yet luxurious recliner chair upholstered with new leather. The sides have also been incorporated with our brand’s very own unique peranakan-inspired handcrafted bone in-lay, to make the piece a conversation starter.
We helped the global aviation enthusiasts to customise their own pieces and express their creativity through this process. We provided the platform for the community of artisans to be involved with the team at Singapore airlines and the global aviation enthusiasts. It gave the artisans the sense of fulfilment to be attached with a prestigious brand, which they would have not got a chance to work with. It also gave Singapore Airlines an opportunity to show their commitment towards sustainability and work with the local creative community.
Collaborating with a strong brand like Singapore Airlines has helped a small store like ours to gain global visibility. The collection was very well received and we have shipped our pieces to aviation enthusiasts in Hong Kong, Japan and beyond, leading to successful international shipments.”
Are there trade-offs when designing with sustainable materials?
“Certainly, there are trade-offs involved. We need to learn about the materials and acquire knowledge about their techniques. Also we must train the actual end-user on proper usage and maintenance of the pieces designed using these materials. This learning curve is an integral part of working with these materials.
We find people are now more open to use sustainable or renewable materials to reduce environmental impacts. They opt for biophilic or circular product designs to enhance their connection with the environment.”
Creating beauty out of waste – mindful consumption:
“We unveil 4 new collections every year. We launch them at international trade shows and we design our pieces around the different personas which shop at ipse. Over the last few years, we have noticed a growing demand for customisation because people desire to have something unique and personalised.
For example the sustainable luxe collection came about after looking at the significant amounts of off -cut leather we had and which were not being used. So by creatively repurposing this material, we crafted beautiful furniture pieces leading to the launch of the sustainable luxe collection.”
Starting 2024 with a bang:
“We are doing some work in one of the prestigious shows in Singapore in February. March we are launching in China.We are going to have our first opening at Chongqing. We also have few sustainability themed events lined up in Singapore and across the world for the following months.”
I’m personally captivated by ipse ipsa ipsum’s ongoing journey and am eager to stay informed about their latest developments.
Bringing my clients to the showroom to explore diverse materials, immerse in their unique stories, and collaboratively design a stunning piece of furniture tailored to their lifestyle is an extraordinary process. The joy it instills, coupled with the gratifying sense of contributing to environmental sustainability, is truly beautiful.
Sam, thank you for your unwavering commitment to making a positive impact and for generously addressing my multitude of questions and curiosity.
If you’re aspiring to craft something truly exceptional from sustainable materials, don’t hesitate to reach out. I am here to help you bring your vision to life.