From Malaysia, emerging design in Kuala Lumpur in 2022

Design in Asia also restarts after pandemic, at MIFF 2022

In Kuala Lumpur, MIFF – Malaysian International Furniture Fair was the first to restart after the pandemic. Although the fair was held only two months after reopening to international tourism, MIFF 2022 recorded more than 10.000 visitors from 94 countries and regions. There was a strong attendance from India, one of the most representative delegations this year, given some areas’ still persistent forced absence. The Italian delegation was also interesting and significant, with the presence of some of the best-known architectural firms.

design malaysia 2022
Some products from The Craftsmanty, a retailer/manufacturer of contemporary furniture in Kuala Lumpur

Karen Goi, General Manager of MIFF, expressed great satisfaction with the outcome in terms of attendance and the quality of products on display. In fact, despite the situation, the fair hosted about 200 exhibitors, who came from 11 countries and regional areas.

design malaysia 2022
The Greenery, installation taking part in the exhibition Millennials@Design – xOrdinary, organized by Artisan at MIFF 2022

Design and sustainability in Malaysian furniture

Always vibrant is the section dedicated to emerging Malaysian designers, which in 2022 featured, as always, TANGGAM Design Centre, the design research center of MTIB – Malaysian Timber Industry Board. Alongside TANGGAM, and despite the pandemic, there was also room for MIFF Furniture Design Competition; the competition that rewards the products of young talents, Malaysian and non-Malaysian, completed its 2021 edition. Lastly, the showcase featured some of the emerging brands on the Malaysian furniture design scene.

Read the interview with Andrea Brugnera, on Italian design in Malaysia

design malaysia 2022
The young designers who won the Furniture Design Competition 2022

Prominent among these emerging brands are some products with an eye for materials research and sustainability. Flatpak, for example, is a brand that revived the ancient Malaysian interlocking techniques and joinery to make contemporary furniture designed and built with today’s methods and tools.

As the name suggests, all products are assembled only by successive interlocking, which makes it possible to build modular wooden furniture that can be totally disassembled at the end of its life. The interlocking method allows for custom-made wooden furniture that ships in flat packages. Modularity and digital design allow for infinite designs, all using the same traditional Malaysian technique, adapted to contemporary technologies.

Detail of the Peggy wall by Flatpak

Arts and crafts in Malaysia

Basicology, on the other hand, an up-and-coming brand founded by young designers, offers contemporary Malaysian-made upholstered and wooden furniture that is environmentally friendly and aimed at a young and discerning audience. Finally, The Craftsmanty is a Kuala Lumpur-based retailer specializing in high-end, international, modern furniture, which it juxtaposes with products designed and made in Malaysia.

A sofa by Basicology

The next edition of MIFF will be held in Kuala Lumpur, March 1-4, 2023, on the regular dates and at the two usual venues, Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) and World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTCKL).

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