Building a ‘Nayme’ brand: Nae Tanakorn

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Looking at Nae Tanakorn’s work and associated success, it is hard to believe that he is a relative newcomer in Australian design. It was as recently as 2020 that Tanakorn took the step change from working in an architectural visualisation role for a range of different companies to a career in furniture design.

Enrolment for a degree in furniture design at RMIT was followed by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Working remotely, and with limited opportunity for practice, Tanakorn conceived and created his Nested Table and Five Chair. This work earned him the inaugural Artichoke Emerging Maker Prize at Craft Victoria’s 2022 Fresh Awards and more success swiftly followed. The Nested Table secured a runner up place, student category, in the Wood Review Maker of the Year awards and the Five Chair a commendation in the Vivid Awards in the same year.


Five chair made with American white oak

Tanakorn then experienced “A really busy end of 2022”. Recognising the impact of the pandemic on the development of his practical skills, he secured a training position with Alexsandra Pontonio: “She taught me a lot of things that I lacked and helped me finalise the design for my Resonate Table which was amazing”. The table design had already caught the eye of Simone Haag Studio who commissioned a number for a few projects. A further award from Vivid followed with the table winning the concept design category in 2023.

Whilst skilled in architectural visualisation, Tanakorn cites his main influence as nature and uses a variety of American hardwood species in his work. The form and texture of the Five Chair “came from the colour of the animals of the deep. The squid, whale and anemone. I was seeking texture and movement” he says. However the chair presented technical challenges, the form requiring additional stability resolved by an American white oak frame and foot to prevent rocking.


Nesting tables in American walnut

The Nesting tables are also a feat of engineering “My dad has told me as a kid I’d always deconstruct and reconstruct toys. To this day I love to figure out how to put things together. I like to break things down to think about how to make them work”. The table he describes as “a puzzle, a pretty fun process” which has resulted in a design created from American walnut solids and veneers and is a masterpiece in sustainable design, the tables fitting together to avoid the waste often associated with curved forms.

The Resonate table too is a similarly challenging structure. With a solid American walnut top and veneer wings, the table echoes the classic feminine form whilst still maintaining a robust presence.


Resonate table in American walnut

Currently working for Lost Profile lighting design for part of the week, he continues to build his own business. “At the moment I’m keeping it small and focusing on developing my creativity and working on small scale commissions. I am building my collection and gradually making the business sustainable”.

Like so many young designers in Australia, Tanakorn has experienced the support of the wider industry. Grateful for the encouragement of those more established, Haag and Pontonio notably, he also plans to help other students achieve their ambitions. “Even though the industry is full of challenges and there is a long road ahead to create a sustainable business, I am committed to the exciting journey. Knowing there is an amazingly talented community and support from my fellow creators, designers and makers keeps me not only motivated to push forward in the industry, but also constantly inspired.’

Learn more about Nae Tanakorn @nayme_furniture:


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