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years of craft


years of design

In 2024, we honour a dual milestone: the golden jubilee of our founder Ng Chin Hok’s masterful woodworking legacy and the 5th anniversary of the brand’s vibrant renewal under the stewardship of his son, Ng Ci En, alongside his future daughter-in-law, Soh Xin Hui and his buddy, Chua Min Sheng.

In this special feature, we delve into our origins and the evolution of our brand over the last five years, offering insights into the strategic journey that has shaped our identity.

1974, Labis Malaysia

Growing up in Labis, a small town in Johor, Malaysia, Hock developed a deep interest in the process of creation. As part of a large family with ten siblings, purchasing toys from retail stores was not an option for the financially constrained household.

Hock would craft his own toys, such as a mini boat carved from wood, or modify his bicycle to become the most impressive bike in the Kampung. Unfortunately, it was stolen, but not before he adorned it with fairy lights on its wheels and a homemade siren fashioned from Milo tins, which emitted sounds akin to a police car when he pedalled. 

Embarked on woodworking

Hock excelled in school, particularly in mathematics. However, due to his family’s financial constraints, he could not pursue further education after completing Primary 6. At the age of 12, he embarked on a woodworking apprenticeship in a carpentry workshop. The co-workers at the time were reluctant to share their knowledge, often assigning him more laborious tasks such as sharpening tools, cleaning the workshop, and making coffee. Earning a modest wage of 30 ringgit a month, he contributed the majority of his earnings to help support his family.

In that era, devoid of power tools, all creations were crafted manually using hand tools. This included sawing wood and assembling pieces with traditional joinery techniques that did not rely on screws. Hock acquired his skills by closely observing the master craftsmen and honing his craft with wood off-cuts after hours, over several years. 

Singapore, Sabah then Singapore

At 18, Hock ventured from home, initially to Singapore with a childhood friend for job opportunities, and subsequently to Sabah, Malaysia, for a two-year period. Throughout his travels, he encountered mentors and industry colleagues who provided valuable guidance and encouraged him to establish his own practice. Remarkably, one of his employers even proposed that he take over the business, an offer Hock chose to decline. 


Founding of
Hock Hoon Furniture

During his time in Singapore, he rented a room with his close friend, who later became his business partner when they established Hock Hoon Furniture. They began their venture with a carpentry workshop, initially lacking a client base, and collaborated with local furniture stores to find custom built-in carpentry work.

Their business grew in the 80s as Singaporeans transitioned from Kampong houses to government-built public housing. The demand for custom built-in carpentry surged, leading to a four-month waiting list, despite the expansion of their team.





Imparting of skills

Throughout the years, Hock has mentored numerous apprentices, with his nephews,

Ng Eng Tiong and Ng Eng Hong, standing out. Their early start in Singapore under Hock’s tutelage mirrors his own journey. Presently, they helm their own teams, crafting high-end residential spaces. They often reflect on the rigorous discipline instilled in them at Hock Hoon Furniture. ‘要做就做好来’

Similarly, Hock’s son, Ng Ci En, began his apprenticeship during the primary school holidays. Guided by his father, he crafted miniature houses and shelves for his toys, such as Ultraman figures and cars. Accompanying Hock to sites for measurements and discussions, he witnessed the entire renovation cycle—design, creation, and installation. This immersive experience sparked his passion for interior design, influencing his academic pursuits.

One-man army

During the Asian financial crisis, Hock Hoon Furniture experienced a significant downturn. Custom carpentry demand plummeted as consumers opted for more affordable, mass-produced alternatives. The crisis led to a downsized team, compelling Hock to personally handle all aspects of the business, from client consultations to the final installation. 


Even after the economy rebounded, he chose to preserve the company’s modest scale, content with the manageable workload and favouring simplicity over expansion.

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