On September 22nd, the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) will unveil its Urban Living Showcase, representing its vision for the local furniture industry at FIND – Design Fair Asia.

When you think of things associated with Singapore, one thing that generally won’t spring to mind is furniture. However, the Singaporean furniture industry accounts for more than 1% of the global market, and the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) will reinforce this with its Urban Living Showcase. Those visiting the event will experience a programme that is centred around encouraging leading industry players to start creating new concepts and innovative designs for international markets that will help enhance urban lifestyles globally.

The showcase takes place on the 22nd of September, and it will be opened by Low Yen Ling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

The event was created as a vehicle to showcase the SFIC’s Design Innovation Programme vision, which fosters partnerships between designers and furniture brands and manufacturers. The goal of the Urban Living Showcase is to enhance the design capabilities of Singapore’s furniture and furnishing brands, allowing them to design and launch commercially-viable urban living products and solutions.

About the Design Innovation Programme (DIP)
With over 50% of the world’s urban population living in Asian cities and accounting for 50% of global GDP growth, the next chapter of living will be largely written by Asia’s burgeoning urban middle class.

The DIP is a pilot funding programme by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC). Its primary objective is to incentivise Singapore-based furniture and furnishings manufacturers/brands to partner with Singapore-based or overseas-based designers or partners to design, produce and launch commercially viable products for Urban Living.

Overview and background on Singapore’s furniture industry
From being the first few industries to venture into overseas manufacturing facilities in the 1980s to embracing design in renowned international platforms in Milan, the Singapore furniture industry has come a long way and today remains resilient to global challenges.

The industry comprises 1,921 (mainly local) companies, employing 19,700 workers. Despite the global economic uncertainties, the Singapore Furniture Industry has sustained a steady CAGR growth of close to 3% between 2010 and 2015. As of 2016, the Singapore furniture industry is contributing a total of $6.27b to the world furniture market, which translates to 1.13% of the world’s furniture consumption.

According to the Centre for Industrial Studies (CSIL) World Furniture Outlook 2016/2017 report, between 2006 and 2015, production in Asia and the Pacific increased by 2.5 times (from US$ 87 billion to US$ 223 billion) while changes in other regions of the world were comparatively minor.

Furniture consumption in Asia and the Pacific has grown two-fold over the past ten years, from 22% in 2006 to 44% of the world’s consumption in 2016, with China being the top contributor. Overall, the global furniture industry is expected to grow further at a CAGR of 5%, from S$631b in 2017 to S$766b by 2021.

It presents great potential and opportunities for the Singapore Furniture Industry in charting the next stage of growth amidst the ever-increasing global competition. The positive global furniture industry sentiments will benefit the diverse clusters across its value chain, comprising Manufacturers, Contract Manufacturers, Retail, Supporting Industries and Design.

Photographs: The images used in this article are a sneak preview of the SFIC Pavilion, made from off-cut cardboard, which will be recycled and reused in future exhibitions. Each ‘cave’ will house the dreams and creations of talented designers showcasing their unique Urban Living projects.

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