Nathan Yong & ipse ipsa ipsum: a successful design journey

This collection certainly stood out as one of the highlights of the Singapore Design Week 2017, amongst a rather shy offer. Exhibited both at the National Design Centre and at IFFS (which seems to have dramatically downsized), the fruit of Nathan Yong and ipse ipsa ipsum collaboration proved to possess exactly what it takes to make an international impression: good story, beautiful and well-balanced lines, interesting materials such as green, white or black marble, brass, hand-cut glass), varied typologies, and the perfect blend of craftmanship & technical skills.

Saurabh Mangla, Creative Head at SAM & SARA, describes the brand design philosophy as proposing “elements of both surprise and nostalgia that would delight the customer. For every new product that we design, we continually explore the ways in which a customer can personalize it so as to truly make it their own”.

nathan-yong-Udaipur-Sofa-ipse ipsa ipsum-sleekdesign

First launched in 2009, SAM & SARA is the brainchild of a 40-year-old Indian silverware business based in Singapore. The company then introduced ipse ipsa ipsum (Latin for myself/ourselves, yourself/yourselves, herself/himself/itself/themselves) in 2016 to create a new brand carrying pieces co-authored with designers, incorporating luxurious materials together with age-old handcrafted techniques.

“As ipse ipsa ipsum is a new brand, we are starting to make a mark as a brand that helps people live a less ordinary life. The Nathan Yong Collection is the first of our co-authored product collections and we will be working with other designers as well for future lines.”

nathan-yong-Bikaner-Aged-Glass-Lamp - sleekdesign

Nathan Yong explained why and how he found his inspiration in India (where you can actually see him sourcing products and ideas in this video), rediscovering an eternal monument to love – Humayun’s Tomb, an icon of Mughal architecture. A labour of love, the tomb was created by the grieving Empress Bega Begum in memory of her dearly departed husband, Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor. This homage to a lost love would repeat itself generations later, when Shah Jahan would create the Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

Inspired by this eternal story of love, Nathan reflected on the architectural heritage of Humayun’s Tomb for his eponymous debut collection with ipse ipsa ipsum.

nathan-yong-Mahal-Hanging-Mirror - sleekdesign

“I want to bring the old craftsman, the glory of the Mahal era back”, said the designer. “And it’s a bit of bringing the romanticism back to the current world which is now a bit more dull with all the economic recession. But this range, I think it provides a vitality of what India has to offer.” Each piece of the collection is also designed to evolve with the needs of its owner – “ordinary people living the extraordinary”. Though luxurious looking, in a timeless and elegant way, the collection has been designed to be affordable (isn’t it intrinsic to the very definition of design?).

Prices of the collection range from USD 195  for the Taj marble tee light holder (antique brass with white marble tray) to USD 3,950 for the marble, brass and & steel Alwar dining table. The featured Udaipur sofa retails for USD 3,500 – entirely customizable thanks to various options including a lamp, a table, a mirror or a TV remote holder.

We usually never indicate prices in our articles, but here they enabled us to prove a point: Nathan Yong and ipse ipsa ipsum have taken the most impeccably successful design journey.

Nabha Make Up Desk by Nathan Yong for ipse ipsa ipsum - sleekdesign



  • Ruchika Singhal

    Thank you for your kind words – We certainly wish to bring back honest luxury materials and bring value in design – We will send you the prices as well – the half round hanging mirror featured in your article retails at USD 350 ! It has brass or nickel finish with marble tray.

    Director – Sam & Sara

  • Elodie Palasse-Leroux

    Dear Ruchika, thank you for the price list. It was worth the precision, and I added a few prices in the last part of the post: considering the design process, knowledge involved and quality of the finished products, it seems affordable, which makes this smart (in both senses of the word) collection even more attractive.

Something to Say?

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.