Furniture Industry Warms to a Fresh Take on Design

The furniture industry’s key players gave an overwhelming response to the Furniture Design Services Programme. Realising the important role of design in enhancing the industry’s performance, the industry via the Malaysian Furniture Industry Council (MFIC) responded well to the call for their cooperation to share their expertise with the programme’s participating furniture designers and act as the point of reference for technical advice and design reviews. The programme has also been receiving strong support from two Malaysia’s foremost authorities on furniture technology namely the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) through its Wood Industry Skills Development Centre (WISDEC) and the Furniture Industry Technology Center (FITEC).

“Having established ourselves as the tenth largest furniture manufacturer in the world, the way forward for the industry is to move away from price competitiveness and be distinguished by innovative designs. We need to reposition ourselves and gain magnitude as a world-class creator of original designs instead of remaining a mere furniture producer. The key to this shift is to groom young furniture designers to be conversant in the dynamics of the world furniture trends and technology, a feat the Furniture Design Services Programme seeks to accomplish,” says Mr Paul Wang, Chief Operating Officer, MFPC.

The first programme of its kind in the country to emphasise on furniture design development, the Furniture Design Services Programme has attracted budding and experienced furniture designers geared up for an opportunity to create fresh new designs for the industry. It entails contracting a group of furniture designers, freshly graduated and practising, to work hand in hand with key Malaysian furniture manufacturers for exposure to the latest trends of the industry and hi tech production capabilities in order to develop a world-class furniture line catering to discerning tastes.  Successful designers will have the chance to participate and exhibit their final work in the “Malaysian Furniture Design Exhibition”, an international event to be held annually by the MFPC where furniture designers from all over the world will converge for a world-class exhibition and competition.

“The selection of designers for the incoming intake of the programme is ongoing. It is very exciting to receive a greater response this time from not only the design community, but also the industry, as more manufacturers have expressed their interests to collaborate. This is an excellent opportunity for Malaysian furniture designers to materialise their potential and for furniture manufacturers to increase their design excellence and innovate their product line. The enthusiasm illustrated by the design community and the furniture industry is a milestone leading to the creation of the Malaysian brand of furniture the world will recognise for its aesthetic value, practicality and premium quality. ” adds Wang.

Malaysian furniture manufacturers play a very important role in this programme for providing the participating designers a place on attachment for product development, during which they will guide the designers in the latest market trends, technology, and prototyping. At the end of the programme, the manufacturers will get the priority to commercialise the designs they have helped develop. With the programme running throughout the year, the industry will benefit from the constant inflow of innovative designs borne out of the collaboration between the manufacturers and designers, with the guidance and support of the MFPC and other furniture authoritative bodies.

The Furniture Design Services Programme is one of the activities under the helm of the MFPC’s Design Enhancement, which is part of its two-pronged strategy namely Market Enhancement and Design Enhancement in its effort to elevate the performance of the furniture industry in the world furniture market. The MFPC is a specialised promotional council entrusted with promotion and further development of the Malaysian furniture industry as its flagship. The MFPC will continue to bring more programmes and activities that will facilitate the progress of the industry and enhance Malaysia’s image as a global player.