Regardless of economic fluctuations, the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) just seems to get bigger every year. Paul McGillick visited the Fair again this year to check out its latest incarnation.
March 26th, 2012
It was the 29th International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) on March 9-12 and, despite a marked downturn in the furniture sector worldwide, 512 companies signed up from 26 countries, 80% of them from the ASEAN region.
The fact is that Asia is now the furniture hub of the world. It may not be producing the best furniture, but it is producing the most to feed a quickly growing appetite in the region.
Palette side table by A Balcony
Jotter desk by A Balcony
IFFS, though, aims to be a design-driven show and its many initiatives over the last three years have been directed to raising the overall quality of the show.
Of course, being Singapore, IFFS does not happen in isolation. It is part of a broad strategy on the part of the Singapore government to make Singapore the design hub of Asia. So, the Fair supports a marketing thrust to put Singaporean products into the world market. This complements a wide range of other initiatives supporting design and design education.
New products from Cilicon Faytory
This year the show launched an off-site component called Singaplural. This was actually an umbrella for the usual on-site features such as D’Space (the Furniture Design Award finalists plus new products and emerging designers) and Platform.
Off-site there was the Design Trail, a series of venues featuring installations, showrooms (specially modified by selected designers), events including a fashion showcase and a new conference component.
Back at the Expo, though, the quality of stand design showed continued improvement. A number of the usual suspects showed some excellent new products.
For example, Singapore company, Office Planner, launched a new workstation system, ’Elle et lui’, designed by French designer, Christian Ghion (they have previously worked with Patrick Chia and Karim Rashid). Beautifully resolved and elegant in form it was just as its named suggests – one for him and one for her.
Office Planner, Elle et lui
Recycling is a constantly strengthening theme. This year saw more products and greater sophistication.
Thai company Ango impressed again with a new range of lights, all made form natural materials such as mulberry tree bark, silkworm cocoons, tapioca skin and raw silk fibre, all using a water-based polymer.
Other companies, like Sharda (India) and d-Bodhi (Indonesia) showed an expanded range of product using recycled materials with imagination and sophistication.
The Furniture Design Award went this year to Israeli designer, Ori Ben Zvi, for a beautifully finished stool, ’Wake’, made from recycled timber offcuts from furniture factories and building sites.
Wake by Ori Ben Zvi
International Furniture Fair Singapore
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