Furniture picks from Peranakan to futuristic

Application Mixgo allows visitors at the International Furniture Fair Singapore to have a clearer idea of how furniture will look like in their homes, using augmented reality. The fair, which runs till Sunday at the Singapore Expo, is the first of it
Application Mixgo allows visitors at the International Furniture Fair Singapore to have a clearer idea of how furniture will look like in their homes, using augmented reality. The fair, which runs till Sunday at the Singapore Expo, is the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific to feature an augmented reality zone.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Visitors to this year's IFFS can look forward to brand showcases, augmented reality zone

From a handcrafted Peranakan desk to Star Wars-inspired stools, visitors at this year's International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) have plenty to feast their eyes on.

The longstanding furniture fair, which opened yesterday and will be at the Singapore Expo till Sunday, brings together 374 exhibitors from 26 countries.

Some highlights are the "Carte Blanche" showcase of renowned and emerging brands, 15 pavilions displaying works from different countries, and an Italian New Renaissance house featuring leading Italian brands. The fair is also the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific to feature an augmented reality zone.

Meanwhile, home accessories brand Sam & Sara is showcasing its new Peranakan Moderne collection, comprising 10 pieces ranging from mirrors to storage units.

Organisers expect the annual event to draw some 20,000 international trade buyers and visitors from more than 100 countries.

Speaking at the fair's launch event, Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), said the global furniture market is expected to expand from $624 billion in 2016 to $770 billion in 2021, with the Asia-Pacific market continuing to see strong 5 per cent growth year-on-year. "Coupled with changing consumer preferences and the emergence of new technologies, these developments present fresh and exciting opportunities for the furniture industry."

He was speaking two days after the Singapore Furniture Industries Council launched a road map for the industry outlining a slew of strategies aimed at making Singapore a hub in Asia for furniture by 2021.

In his speech, Mr Iswaran also said e-commerce has become more important, especially in Asia, where its penetration rates are expected to experience double-digit growth.

And consumers now have different preferences. "Young urban-dwellers are well-travelled, design-savvy and digitally inclined. They have specific tastes and needs, and are looking for unique pieces to differentiate their homes and express themselves. Companies can no longer rely on the same designs, and will have to create distinctive designs and features," he said.

He encouraged companies to tap new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, seek new market segments and adapt their business models.

Next year's fair will be held at Marina Bay Sands. For more information, visit https://www.iffs.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2018, with the headline 'Furniture picks from Peranakan to futuristic'. Print Edition | Subscribe