Weaving Design Culture into Furniture Making

The Malaysian Furniture Promotion Council (MFPC) is set to organise its second National Furniture Seminar entitled “The Furniture Design Process and The Importance of Idea and Material Diversification”.

An exercise in the MFPC’s effort to establish design as a fundamental variable of the Malaysian furniture industry, this seminar aims to create awareness among the Malaysian furniture industry players on the importance of design to any environment or business and to expose the Malaysian furniture manufacturing industry to the importance of original design and innovation, through the use of new technology and diversity of materials.

“In the USA and Europe, where design plays a central role in the furniture industry, manufacturers have long evolved from the economies of scale and turned to strategic market segmentation and product differentiation. The key to this evolvement lies in the industry players’ realisation of the importance of design, which leads to a stream of stunning new creations that has diverted their competitive edge from competitive pricing to premium offering. This seminar will bring to the attention of the Malaysian furniture manufacturers how design acts as the mechanism of this diversion,” says Paul Wang, MFPC Chief Operating Officer.

Speaking at the seminar will be the founder and director of the world renowned John Kelly Furniture and Accessories, Mr. John Kelly from New York. Distinguished by his unique approach to design, he has been labelled the Frank Lloyd Wright of furniture design.

Mr. Kelly graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters degree in Architecture in 1989 and has since turned his focus to furniture design. An award-winning designer, Mr. Kelly has garnered a string of international recognitions for his outstanding designs including the most recent Furniture Show/Cabinet Maker Magazine 2004 Award of Excellence from the United Kingdom, the Pinnacle Award by the American Society of Furniture Designers in 1999 and 2000, and Award of Excellence for Best Show at the International Furniture Fair, Singapore in 1998.

Through this seminar, the MFPC especially brings in Mr. Kelly whose knowledge and expertise will provide a resourceful insight for local designers, manufacturers and industry experts to further explore the versatility of design and its importance to the future of the furniture industry.

Wang adds, “Having flourished into a multi-billion Ringgit industry in the past ten to fifteen years from a humble cottage-based beginning, establishing Malaysia as the tenth biggest furniture manufacturer in the world, the way forward for the industry now is to move away from price competitiveness and be distinguished by innovative designs to position the country as a world class creator of original designs.  Therefore, it is important to cultivate a design culture within the industry through an understanding of the various aspects of design such as ideas, technology, innovation and material. “

The National Furniture Seminar, jointly organised by the MFPC and American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), will explore the many facets of furniture design and provide an insight into the furniture design culture in the United States, where design is the spine of the furniture industry. Through this seminar, the MFPC hopes to bring realisation to its commitment and objectives in establishing Malaysia as a globally recognised source of world class furniture.  

The organisation of this seminar is part of the Design Enhancement series of activities based on the MFPC’s two-pronged strategy – Design Enhancement and Market Enhancement. Such an exercise, along with a series of other programmes, is lined out to cultivate a furniture designing culture within the Malaysian furniture industry that will procreate a unique Malaysian offering. As a result, Malaysian furniture will be distinguished by a new Malaysian brand of aesthetics, practicality and designs.

As the specialised promotional council entrusted with promotion and further development of the Malaysian furniture industry as its flagship, the MFPC will continue to bring to the industry more programmes and activities that will facilitate the progress of the industry and enhance Malaysia’s image as a global player.