Calling all cat-owners! I’ve spoken a lot on here before about the trials and tribulations of designing an aesthetically pleasing abode that is also pet-friendly. Now I think I might have finally found you and your feline friend an accessible (and affordable) solution.
Let me introduce The9Life, a Hong Kong-based lifestyle brand that creates home products and furniture for people who share their homes with cats. The collection currently consists of three furniture pieces: the Welcome-Home Shelf, Afternoon Table and Cucuckoo Clock – shown off to perfection by our feline model, Bibo, in the video below.
What I particularly love about this breed of cat-friendly furniture is its chic Scandinavian-inspired design – all warm woods and sleek lines. In fact, they look so good I’d recommend them even for catless interiors! To find out more I paid a visit to Rosly Mok, the designer behind The9Life, who revealed all about her inspiration for the collection, and why she doesn’t believe there is such a thing as cat furniture.
What inspired you to create cat-friendly furniture?
Like many in Hong Kong, I live in a very small apartment. With such limited space to call my own, I have to choose every piece of furniture very carefully. When I was decorating, I had huge difficulties with choosing good cat-friendly products because most of them were either too colorful or had some sort of cat paw or cat ear details. I just wanted a very simple piece that could fit into my interior style; I wanted a piece that didn’t necessarily give away any clues that I shared my home with a cat. This was very difficult to find so in the end I decided to just design my own.
You’re an architect and interior designer by trade, was it difficult to transition to designing furniture?
Not hard – it was actually very interesting, much more interesting than I had anticipated. Designing furniture for cats made me rethink our environment. A piece of furniture is just a piece of furniture to us, but for cats they’re like small pieces of architecture which they can go in and out of, and even jump on.
If a piece of furniture is a form of architecture for cats, then the home is like a city. It’s very interesting.
How has your background in architecture and interior design helped you in this project?
I think usually cat product designers just focus on the piece or object they are making, but since I am doing interior and architecture I tend to think about the environment – I think about how a piece will sit in an environment. For example, when designing the Afternoon Table I didn’t just think about the table itself, I thought about what would be around the table, such as a sofa, and how then the cat would move from the table to the sofa. I realized how the table would be used by the cats as a step for them to go somewhere else and designed accordingly.
Architects and interior designers tend to think one scale up. So if we’re working on furniture then we think about the interior too, and if we’re working on interior design then we try to think about the architecture and so on. Each time, we try to think one scale up so our designs can fit in more seamlessly with the environment.
What role does cat furniture play in a cat’s life?
Actually I think there is no such thing as cat furniture. For cats, every space in the home is their territory. These designs are just allowing cats to use the space without disturbing you. We want to live very peacefully with our cats, that’s why we design environments so humans and cats can co-habit together.
I think most cat owners have had the same experience where you buy something for them but they don’t like to use it. They always like to disturb you. For example, when you are going to the sofa they will get there before you. Or if you want to use the computer at night they will sit on the keyboard. They like to touch what you touch, they like to see what you see – so if you are designing or buying something just for them, they won’t like it.
What’s next for THE9LIFE?
Next I would like to design furniture with cat toilet functions.
What do you think of Rosly’s cat-friendly furniture? Are these pieces that you would love to have in your home, cat or no cat? Let us know in the comments below.
For more feline-friendly interior advice you have to check out Rosly’s three top tips for designing a cat-friendly home. Meow-nificent!