Home Brand Sun At Six Marries Classic Chinese Joinery With Modern Design

It’s a family affair.

Courtesy of Sun At Six
Sun At Six Furniture

For many children of entrepreneurial parents, carving one’s own path is crucial. There’s a certain thrill in knowing you have cultivated a little journey all your own, with twists and turns that you’ve created and learned from. But like, all paths, if you look back and retrace your steps, it will always lead you home. Antares and Capella Yee know this to be true. The brother-sister duo behind furniture studio Sun At Six have seamlessly melded ancient Chinese joinery work with modern shape and style, for a stunning collection of furniture that has been featured in the Forbidden City, an ancient historic palace in Beijing as well as San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum. But a closer look at the company’s origin story and you’ll find that they are not the first to master the art of furniture design.

“My mom's a furniture designer, so it's hard to tell just the story of Sun at Six,” explains Antares on a recent Zoom call, referencing the family matriarch Maria Yee. “It's honestly pretty natural because growing up around my mom, I’m walking around the kitchen table at 10 kind of peering over her shoulder and she's sitting there sketching. So you kind of just naturally absorb that as a kid.”

For context, Maria’s designs centered around the aforementioned traditional Chinese joinery and Ming Dynasty-era design. She learned her skills from a joinery master in Beijing and leveraged them to build a successful business after moving to the US in the ‘80s. Antares explains that his mother originally started with quintessential Ming and Qing dynasty-inspired furniture, made in the “traditional way.” (The look of the ancient eras is known for combining advanced engineering with intricate and complex carved design.) Over time, she began to add her own “personal spin” to her pieces, giving the ancient Chinese technique a more contemporary edge.


“It was, in a lot of cases, taking a lot of the more complex detailing and saying, ‘You know what? This is a little too gauche. Let me see what happens if I streamline this part of it.’ I think her design sense was always influenced specifically by nature and a lot of [Japanese] minimalism. And so she kind of applied these kinds of things to her traditional Chinese furniture.”

Capella, Sun At Six’s head of development and operations explains that, because their father was also involved in the family business, every conversation in the house was naturally centered around furniture. This made for a lifelong education on the topic and the industry. “You'd be sitting at the dinner table and it's about furniture. And after school, if we didn't have sports, we would just end up in the warehouse just walking around, watching people repair things or ship things out,” she says. “And then in the summers we would be at the factory with my parents. So it's kind of like the dinner table education where your whole life is this thing, but you're not necessarily conscious of it.”

At the start of his design journey, Antares — who moved from the family home in San Jose, California to New York City — originally pursued the “digital architectural experiential” space. But after a few years of staring at a computer screen the young professional was ready for a new challenge, something more physical. “Because of my background in furniture, I was like, ‘Oh, I wonder what would happen if I started designing some furniture pieces and seeing how that does?” he says.

Antares took his inaugural offerings to a trade show to see what kind of response they might garner, and he was pleasantly surprised. “They did really well, we sold out of a couple of the pieces that we had, and it was like, OK, that's interesting,” he says. “So we kind of just kept going, kept selling pieces, and then just converted to a full time [business model] and kind of grew from there.” And grew they did. Sun at Six launched in 2017, with Capella coming on in 2022.

Like Maria, Antares’s approach to Sun At Six’s furniture pays homage to classic Chinese joinery, but he explains that his creativity draws from multiple avenues. “I think there's a huge difference just from a 10,000-foot view,” he says of the comparison between his furniture and that of his mother. “A lot of my mom's work is contemporary takes on traditional Chinese work. There's a lot of the detailing, a lot of the curves that you can kind of see where she was inspired by and kind of had her foundations in. For me, I'm coming from essentially New York City, so it's a place where there's so many different types of furniture.”

Minimalism is at the center of Sun At Six’s design ethos, evident in the simple but timeless structure of best-selling items like the curved, plush Temi Chair, organic cut Ohm Coffee Table, and the beautifully rounded Kiral platform bed. “Ultimately, what I value is furniture that a person can sit on for very specific uses, and I think that's a really interesting constraint to work with,” says Antares. “How can you maximize a piece within that world of [affordability and functionality]? So I think that's something similar to my mom as well.”

One through line that Antares notes is the love of well-executed design. “That's something we both strive for, is to make sure whatever the piece you're doing, the proportions, just the basic elements of design are there,” he explains. “So that's another thing that's similar.”


Both Antares and Capella recall their parents being skeptical of their foray into the furniture business in the those initial years. “[My mom] was like, ‘Oh, that's cute. You want to try furniture. I've been doing this for 40 years. Sure, do your thing, whatever,’” Antares says with a laugh. “I think she and my dad both fully expected it to fail. She didn't really express that towards me, but she later admitted it to me.” After seeing the growing success of Sun At Six, however, Maria started to come around, respecting Antares’ “thought process and sensibilities” a bit more.

And they’re not the only ones gaining a deeper respect and understanding for another generation. Capella says joining Sun At Six has also helped her gain a deeper appreciation for her parents’ unique perspective on and approach to business. “You see the good and the bad,” says Capella of her first two years at the company. “You're like, ‘Wow, I can't believe that you guys actually went from nothing to create all of this and have this mastery in joinery and preserve this technique [so well].”

The experience has also deepened the bond between brother and sister, who admit that working together has brought about fresh conflict, but also fresh breakthroughs. “I think just personally, that's been really powerful for me to be like, ‘Hey, there's this person in my life who loves me so much that even when I'm truly, truly, truly being the worst person, we can talk through that,” Capella says. “That I think is just a crazy, powerful relationship to have in your life. And I don't know if we would've gotten there, if not for working together.”