On the lookout for creative new furniture

Aspiring designer: Lee Li Poh from Saito College presented her creation called 'De Bench' at the MIFF Furniture Design Competition at PWTC. (MIFF FDC) 2014 Semi Finals judging on Oct 31.

South-east Asia’s leading industry trade show, Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF), is celebrating its 20th anniversary next March with its young designer battle shaping up as the most intense ever among the highlights.

The MIFF Furniture Design Competition 2014 (MIFF FDC) held in conjunction with the annual trade show, is a platform for designers to showcase their creativity and innovativeness.

“Since its inception in 1995, MIFF has witnessed the development and growth of the Malaysian furniture export industry.

“In 2010, we launched the design competition because we strongly believed it was time to groom young Malaysian talent to meet the needs of the industry which is worth billions of dollars today,” said organiser of MIFF and UBM Malaysia general manager Karen Goi.

The competition which turns five next year, will see participants linked directly with nine leading manufacturers and exporters right from the start.

“This brings a new competitive edge to the test and we are certainly looking forward to prototype showcase of the top 10 finalists at MIFF 2014,” she added.

With the theme “Living Furniture, Leading Design”, 46 out of 244 participants were selected for the semi-finals held on Oct 31 at Putra World Trade Centre.

MIFF Furniture Design Competition 2014 chief judge and PYD Inc founder Philip Yap said it was important for the contestants to understand how furniture design is inspired by how we live and work.

“The participants need to have a bond with furniture and ensure that their designs have creative and commercial value,” he said.

When asked what he was looking for in contestants, he said he was looking for designers who could produce commercially viable designs that also inspire.

“I’m also looking for creative winners who can catch the attention of the market,” he added.

The top 10 finalists’ designs will be matched with local manufacturers to produce prototypes for the final judging on March 3 next year and will be exhibited during MIFF 2014.

Winners will be announced on March 6.

The first-prize winner will walk away with RM10,000 while the runner-up and third-place winners will receive RM5,000 and RM2,500 respectively.

Participants were judged by Tsutomu Suda (Infist Design Co Ltd, Japan), Chen Neng Xin (Ason Design, China). freelance designer Marico Mulders (Netherlands) and architect Lim Wei Hong (Arkitek WHL, Malaysia) and Philip Yap.

The nine companies with a range of home, office and outdoor furniture are Oasis Furniture Industries, Jemaramas Jaya, Distinctive Fine Furniture, Lencasa International, ELK Furniture, BJ Cabinet Enterprise, Supreme Tropical Furniture, Muar Industries and Omega Sofa.

MIFF will take place from March 4 to 8 at the Putra World Trade Centre and Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre.

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