Meet the Maker: Fong Brothers

I felt like a giddy student back in art history class while researching and preparing for this. So many of our artists are young - and this provided a rare opportunity to dive into a research project centered around a historic and iconic brand and maker, Fong Brothers Company, a third generation family design studio. Fong Brothers introduced unique and non-traditional rattan and wicker furniture, combining rattan with metal, wood, and plastic to create both clean and whimsical designs. Inspired by the casual California lifestyle of the mid-century, Fong Brothers’ designs are celebrated for being effortless, light-scaled, and open in feeling.  There is a marrying in the collection of hand-made craftsmanship, tradition, and innovation.

 

The Lotus Arm Chair

 

Originally established in 1954 under the name Tropi-Cal in California, Danny Ho and Muey Fong founded Fong Brothers Company based on traditional Chinese design but with a fresh nod to California 20th century style. Born in China in 1915, Fong was an American who moved to the California coast in 1936. Muey’s son Miller was born in 1942 in Los Angeles and graduated from college as an architect. Miller would later join the family business and was instrumental in some of the firm’s most iconic pieces.

The Fong Family

 

The Lotus Collection, by Miller Yee Fong (circa 1968), is noted for the joining of modern form with “rustic materials,” such as wicker, to fit the sophisticated yet casual California lifestyle of the 1960s. Organic and sculptural lines are an essential part of the Collection’s design.  It is this balance of new and old, raw and refined, modern and timeless that is evident in every Fong Brothers piece.

Danny Ho and Muey Fong, Founders of Fong Brothers Company.

 

Fong Brothers Lotus Chair

 

The Wave Lounge Chair is another piece epitomizing mid-century California design.  Its companion chaise lounge is part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Danny Ho Fong had a vision of creating furniture with a contemporary, casual design aesthetic.  He utilized rattan and wicker to create modern forms that other designers, like the Eames, were achieving with plastics and bent wood.  This new approach turned what had previously been considered “ethnic” furniture into sleek, elegant pieces that echoed the casual-glam design movement of California during the 1950’s and 60’s.

Fong Brothers Wave Chair, as presented in Anyon Atelier

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Several of these important pieces were included in museum collections, notably the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This includes the Wave Chaise (1966, Danny Ho), located in the MoMA’s collection in New York, and the Lotus Chair (1968, Miller Yee), in the LACMA’s collection in Los Angeles.

From The Archives: Fong Brothers Wave Chaise, as seen in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.
 
“The iconic Lotus, Wave, and Molded collections are near and dear to our hearts. While capturing the design aesthetic of the 1960's California lifestyle, they are also timeless and find themselves equally relevant in today's modern spaces.”
-Heidi Fong

 

The Lotus Chair
 
We are so pleased to be showing the Fong Brothers Collection in the Atelier. Its chic minimalist style feels as fresh as ever today.  Several of the pieces can be enjoyed today in both indoor and outdoor versions. 

 

To explore Fong Brothers pieces available in the Atelier, kindly see here.