Faisal Malik and Elodie Pinel are the craftsmen behind the customised furniture, or functional art, at Faisal Malik Design Studio in Bangkok. With a decades-long global career in the wood industry, Pinel transitioned into woodwork designs from engineering. Malik is a soft-spoken Canadian, former NGO manager and self-taught and self-teaching woodworker and designer. After a discerning client inquired about the bench Malik made for a charity auction, he realised his hobby could become a profession.
Their unwavering respect for the wooden craft and love for the precious wood from Thailand brought them together to open Faisal Malik Design Studio in May 2016. Combining Malik’s woodwork techniques and Pinel’s eye for refinement, they create striking pieces of furniture, from tables and benches to cutting boards and mirrors. All the products are made out of reclaimed and salvaged wood across Thailand. Masterfully designed and beautifully crafted, their creations are precise artistry that are engineered to last for generations.
The pair ethically sources all their timber themselves – driving from province to province, connecting with local families and seeking out reusable dismantled material. Dedicated to preserving the history and spirit of the hardwood, Pinel and Malik have a gift for spotting good wood that has the potential of turning into an art piece.
“Just from sight, you can anticipate if there are burns in it or if the woodgrain will make an interesting figure,” Pinel explained. On the other hand, Malik uses his sense of smell and touch search for potential wood. They find joy in working with wood that “has its own story,” and installing them in new homes.
In a world where craftsmanship is being lost in the face of mass production, Faisal Malik Design is a refreshing departure from current trends. Their operation is driven by continuous improvement and the steadfast pursuit of quality, even down to their selection of oils and glue. Spending anywhere from 40 to 150 hours of labour on each piece, the two speak of woodwork as parents would of their new-born child. Pinel admitted, “every new project becomes a favourite. I crush on a piece very quickly and once it’s done, I don’t want to let it go.”
While Faisal Malik Design caters to clientele from across the world – shipping to Dubai, Switzerland, the United States and beyond – the team is thrilled to work with Thai clients with a keen appreciation for revived local wood. Most clients ask for a particular piece of furniture and give Malik and Pinel the creative licence. “They gives us more freedom,” said Pinel. “Most of the pieces that we create are inspired by the wood itself… and at the end of the day, [our clients] want something unique.” The beauty is in the surprise of the finished product. They scour the countryside for hidden gems and spend hours polishing centuries old Thai teak. The two artists know their craft and are willing to go above and beyond to forge exquisite wooden designs.
Faisal Malik Design Studio, 74 On Nut Soi 11, Soi On Nut (Sukhumvit 77), Bangkok