Forbidden Hill is a lifestyle brand creating contemporary homeware and jewelry with a multicultural signature that draws from the rich visual tapestry of Southeast Asia. The brand is based in Singapore and was co-founded by David Aumonier and Ruth Pestana. Originally from France and Malaysia respectively with backgrounds in design and business, the husband-and-wife team was inspired by Ruth’s multicultural Straits heritage and launched the brand in 2018 to celebrate the cultures and craftsmanship of Southeast Asia.
The brand’s striking lacquerware collections are designed in Singapore before being brought to life by carefully selected lacquer artisans in Vietnam. The illustrations on the two-tone pieces include symbolic creatures such as the Garuda and the mythical lion seen at the founding of Singapore, as well as elements from local culture, such as the lanterns of Vietnam and Cirebon batik from Indonesia.
Known as Bukit Larangan when Singapore was a bustling port on the Silk Road of the Sea, the original Forbidden Hill was the royal residence at the centre of a thriving maritime kingdom. Today, Forbidden Hill blends the rich cultures and craft traditions of Southeast Asia with contemporary style and materials, in the same spirit of cultural diversity and invention of that adventurous era.