Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 45
for function," Khabouth says. "A lot of people can design, but the
that has six super-talented industrial designers, and they work very
function often falls short."
closely with me to create this custom furniture."
After Guvernment, Munge Leung enjoyed a steady upward
While the genesis and fruition of each Studio Munge interior is
climb, raking in awards and developing a strong client base. Successful different, they all share a similar gestation. Before the blank canvas
Munge Leung ventures included the Rosewood Hotel Georgia (2011),
is filled, three elements are considered: location, brand, and clientele.
a detailed restoration of a 1920s landmark in Vancouver, Canada, which Munge enjoys getting to know a site, immersing himself in context,
incorporates the Hawksworth Restaurant, a sleek venue for the creations and connecting with the client and their business. He also intently
of David Hawksworth, one of the country's most celebrated chefs.
studies people to understand how they will interact within a given
Since splitting with Leung in summer 2015, Munge has
space, and how the interior may function.
continued the practice as Studio Munge, which has quickly grown from
Next, Munge and his team create a large, physical storyboard.
approximately 30 to 60 employees and is thriving with large projects
"We always build a narrative through images of inspiration and try
both in Canada and abroad. "For me, the moment right now is like a
to understand the 'why.' That's the first way we pitch," Munge says.
blank canvas," Munge says. "My business is evolving. I'm evolving. I feel "Our narratives are the most important part of our projects, allowing
like I'm growing and bursting out and finding myself, which is the most
the team to be creative based on a specific direction. We believe that
beautiful time I've ever, ever experienced in my career."
if we build a narrative that everybody believes in, then it can, ultimately,
be followed through in all aspects."
The storyboard always includes visuals that are infused with
Studio anchored in process
emotion. "I want to understand the project, not through images of other
For the studio's home, Munge purchased a 15,000-square-foot
interiors but rather through ethereal images you have to dive deep into
former factory building in a light industrial area of northwest Toronto
in order to pull a design out of them," says Munge. "Even though you
in 2014. His own desk is purposely open to the rest of the studio
may not understand it, or you may not believe it, guests will always feel
because he spends most of the day among his staff. "To me, the best
it. They will know when something doesn't feel right within the space."
solutions are the ones in which the team is around me, almost like
Having a keen sense for hospitality clients and their guests
it's around my mother's table," Munge says. "I feed off the energy."
has enabled Munge to produce sophisticated interiors that are attractive
His multidisciplinary team incorporates industrial designers.
to targeted audiences. For example, the eatery Figo (2016) for
Taking a holistic approach, Munge fashions custom furniture for
Khabouth's Ink Entertainment is a modern Italian restaurant designed
most of his interiors, whether a hotel, restaurant, or other project type.
to appeal to women in the city. Located at the nexus of Toronto's
"In my desire to control the environments and to control the guest
entertainment and fashion districts, the initial inspiration was a spring
experience, we have excellent examples of where our pieces have
collection by Dolce & Gabbana translated by Munge into a fresco-like
blended beautifully into the interiors," Munge says. "I built a studio