Singgih Kartono is by far one of Indonesia’s better-known designers.
Since the launch of his Magno brand, back in 1995, he has won countless fans and an equal amount of accolades and awards around the globe, including the 1997 International Design Resource Award and the 2008 Japan Good Design Award.
The most renowned Magno product is a small portable timber radio – the ‘IKoNO’.
A radio styled on the classic brands of the 40s and 50s, like Emerson or Truetone. However this version is made completely of hand selected timbers such as Sonokeling, Mahogany and Pine. The production method employs a basic sustainable model of use and re-plant. With many new trees planted locally, some through a seed-to-sapling initiative with the local junior high school.
Singgih’s unique brand of design centres on a passion for ecology and a love for his hometown Temanggung, just outside Yogyakarta. Each product is lovingly hand made by a dedicated team of Javanese crafts-people, specially trained in the art of custom assembly and finishing. Something he refers to as ‘New Craft’, which is loosely defined as a manufacturing process that uses both traditional craftsmanship as its main means of production and modern management techniques.
The results pretty much speak for themselves. A workforce of 50 or so, capable of producing a small range of beautiful timber products for an audience worldwide.
The simplicity of each item in the Magno lineup evokes connection with a broad demographic. From the nostalgic baby boomers, who might remember the days when radios were the main source of entertainment; to the most serious of cool hunters, who constantly crave the unique and even right down to a 5 year old who may find interest in one of the toys.
Singgih believes “……that the relationship between a user and a product is not merely a relationship between a subject and an object. It is a relationship where a product is an integral part of our life.”
If you are lucky enough to own a Magno product you will understand this completely.