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On The Cusp of Design Greatness In Malaysia


Published 30th July 2015
Furnish Now June 2015

What makes furniture manufacturers such as Supreme Tropical Furniture 'gamble' on young designers who are practically amateurs in the field? What is the principle behind such an outsatnding effort?

Supreme Tropical Furniture first join the MIFF Furniture Design Competition (MIFF FDC) was to assist MIFF in providing a platform for young designers to deliver their ideas into real products.

"At the same time, we wanted to find out whether there is a market for the designed products," shared Choo Ghee Kien, Director of Supreme Tropical Furniture.

Since 2013, Supreme Tropical Furnitue has been a consistent participant at the MIFF FDC. After the first year of becoming a prototype maker at MIFF FDC, Mr Choo realised that in order to compete well in the market, it is important to also own designed products rather than focusing on just original equipment manufacturing (OEM) products.

Today, Supreme Tropical Furniture's efforts in supporting young designers are certainly payin goff, at least in terms of new projects and business venture.


Why designed furniture is important

"It's not just the design's potential in the market; it should also bring out our company's strength in solid wood products," explained Mr Choo.

Wood is the primary material in the designs that the company has prototyped: XSR, Mick's Deck Chair adn Infinity Lounge Chiar.

Venturing into designed furniture will attract the international market's attention of Malaysia's capability in this area. Also. there are benefits that might be intangible now but would reward the company's business in the future. "Based on a lot of positive feedback we got from the enquiries, it shows that there is true value in design," said Mr Choo.


             Mick's Deck Chair                                    XSR                                        Infinity Lounge Chiar

Perhaps the best result out of the company's prototyping efforts is the birth of Mfivio (www.mfivio.com) , the start-up company of Mr Choo's collaboration with Francis Lye, MIFF FDC 2014's top prize winner and the design brain behind XSR.

Seeking to promote Malaysian timber to the international market, Mfivio is a brand dedicated to designed living furniture, while Supreme Tropical Furniture is its contracted manufacturer.

Mfivio, according to Mr Choo, as created to provide designed mid-range living furniture that is popular to the younger generation. Its outdoor series will target the European market, while the indoor series will focus more on the Asian market.


A furniture's long journey begins with a single prototype

As an outdoor furniture manufacturer, Supreme Tropical Furniture together with the young designers they work with, are learning to produce indoor furniture too.

By starting to create prototypes of indoor designed furniture as in XSR, Mick's Deck Chair and Infinity Lounge Chair, the company hopes to conquer the international market in the indoor furniture business as well.

Recognising the business potential of indoor living furniture in the maarket, the company is confident that designed products could be the key to succeeding in the new venture.


Read more... On the Cusp of Design Greatness in Malaysia