Thursday, September 21, 2017

Furniture design competition to bolster innovation

The Association of Myanmar Interior Designers (AMID) will hold the first locally-sourced design competition next month, according to AMID secretary, U Thant Soe Oo.

The first Myanmar Furniture Week is held in Yangon, on February 4. Photo: Tin Yadanar Tun / The Myanmar TimesThe first Myanmar Furniture Week is held in Yangon, on February 4. Photo: Tin Yadanar Tun / The Myanmar Times

“The furniture design competition will help develop the market for local furniture products,” said U Thant Soe Oo. “The market for Myanmar furniture is not growing. We need to support younger designers to produce more innovative and valuable furniture designs for local companies.”

The top three winners of the competition will implement their designs and manufacture products through a partnership with local companies.

“We will tender the best designs to the local companies and our association will establish a relationship between the designers and companies who will negotiate the prices between themselves,” he said.

“Some interior designers only create designs on the computer. They don’t know the real difficulties when translating the design to an actual product,” U Thant Soe Oo said, adding that young designers lack the practical experience in producing furniture. It is important for the young designers to be more connected with the other divisions of the industries such as manufacturing. AMID plans to bring the contest participants to meet and talk to business owners so they can receive hands-on learning.

Leading up to the competition, the Association held Myanmar Furniture Week 2017 on February 4. The participants of the event, Live Life Co and Eclion Global (Aluminum & Glass), hoped that the week served as a platform to facilitate interaction between local furniture companies and potential clientele.

In addition to the furniture company tours, AMID will also meet with designers in Mandalay to discuss the best solutions to boost the furniture industry throughout Myanmar.

The current furniture market is not buoyant, partly because the country cannot export valuable furniture products. Illegal timber and teak export, however, is still on the rise, unchecked by institutional efforts to clamp down on the activities.

Last month, The Myanmar Times reported that the Yangon Forest Department seized 571 tonnes of illegally logged timber at Myanmar Industrial Port (MIP) and Mingaladon township.

In November 2016, Myanmar Rattan Manufacturers Association Vice President U Tin Oo pointed out that the industry remained out of step with international standards and local producers lacked the relevant knowledge to branch out into European trade shows. However, many have eyed the newly opened-up American market.

The United States reinstated preferential tariffs under the Generalised System of Preferences scheme on November 13, 2016, after a 27-year suspension. The Ministry of Commerce said that goods included under the new GSP protocol include rattan furniture and wooden furniture.