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  • Thomas Russell

Singapore fair offers array of trend-setting products

Sunpan Modern
Sunpan Modern Home, back for a second show at IFFS, offered living room furniture including this vignette at the front of its space.

SINGAPORE - Fashion forward home furnishings once again took center stage at this year's International Furniture Fair Singapore, with aggressive introductions in both case goods and upholstery.
The 2013 edition of the show took place from March 9-12 at the Singapore Expo. It featured 466 exhibitors from 26 countries including the U.S. and Canada. Among the exhibitors from North America were Ashley Furniture, Lifestyle Enterprise, the Phillips Collection, Zuo Modern, Sunpan Modern Home and Kinder International.
As usual, the show featured trend-setting designs in leather and fabric upholstery. Wood offerings spanned a range of traditional and transitional styles including reclaimed looks that incorporated mixed media elements such as leather and metal.
For many exhibitors, the show is a way to tap into a broad customer base from around the world. This year's show drew 20,893 visitors, down about 11% from the 23,552 that attended last year. Those visitors came from 102 countries in Asia, Europe, North America the Middle East and South America.

Last month's International
Last month's International Furniture Fair Singapore featured a number of country pavilions including this one from Taiwan.

Orders taken at the show held strong despite the drop in attendance, totaling $297 million, down slightly from $303 million last year.
This was Ashley's first time at the fair since 2004. It showed a wide selection of bedroom, dining room, occasional and fabric and leather upholstery. It had 35 upholstery groups, five bedrooms and 10 dining sets, including formal and casual footprints.
"It shows the breadth of our product capability," said Charles Spang, president of international sales and operations. "We have product we have strong feedback from in the U.S. and product we get strong reaction to in Asia."
The first day of the show, the company was writing orders and opening new accounts from Thailand to the United Kingdom, Spang said.
This was the second time Sunpan Modern Home has shown in Singapore. Carl Lovett, sales manager, said he believed early traffic at the show was better than last year's event and that the quality of buyers was also stronger. Lovett said there was good attendance from Australia, the Middle East and South Africa as well as the U.S.
Sunpan's mix included bestsellers from the fall High Point Market and some of the top selling designs from the winter Las Vegas Market in living room and dining room.

Ashley showed at IFFS for the first time since 2004. Its mix included upholstery, bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture.
Ashley showed
Zuo Modern
Zuo Modern showed for the second time at IFFS. This solid reclaimed elm table has a suggested retail of $1,000.
Novaz Contemporary Classic Furniture's Gramercy upholstered bed has a stainless steel frame and a suggested retail of $2,195.
Novaz Contemporary
The Striell dining
The Striell dining set by Star Furniture has a melamine coating that is made to look like textured oak veneer. It has solid wood legs in a smoked gray finish.
Xilinmen Furniture showed a line of mattresses that it markets under its Sleemon brand.
Xilinmen Furniture
Bellagio Asia
Bellagio Asia showed a line of living room and dining room furniture at the IFFS show. The company's upholstery selection is available in 200 fabrics.

This mattress set was among the new products at Getha
Lifestyle Enterprise, a manufacturer of sleep products.

This mattress
Lifestyle Enterprise
Lifestyle Enterprise showed mostly upholstery at the Singapore show, including its new lay-flat motion line.
Lala Curio by China Accent Ltd. showed a line of furniture, accents and accessories in its Singapore showroom.
Lala Curio

"People are writing here," Lovett said. "Existing customers that wrote here last year are adding to new collections."
Russell Stevens, president of Lifestyle Enterprise Europe, said traffic was strong the first day and a half of the show, with good attendance from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South America. The company's showroom featured stationary and motion upholstery in both leather and fabric.
"Here we have some new frames and some new fabrics, as well as our new 'layflat' recliners we introduced in Las Vegas," Stevens said, noting that the company was opening some new accounts, including a large customer from Belgium.
In addition to a host of well-known brands from Singapore, such as Koda, Star Furniture, Haleywood and Eurosa, the show also featured an array of manufacturers from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.
The show also added France to its group of country pavilions. The area featured several brands including Gautier, which showed a line of mostly transitional and contemporary bedroom, living room and dining room furniture.
This was Gautier's first time showing in Singapore, said Herve Soulard, export key account manager. The company exports to more than 45 countries and already does six shows a year, so it made sense to add Singapore to the mix, he said.
"Our main market is Europe and the Middle East and we are in India as well," he said. "Southeast Asia is something we are starting to develop."
Novaz Furniture showed a line of contemporary upholstery as well as bedroom and dining room furniture. It was seeing buyers mostly from South America, Australia, Africa, Europe and the U.S., said Jean-Paul Pasdeloup, sales director.
"There is more traffic than last year, and the quality of the buyers is good," he said, noting that showroom included a mix of items it showed in Shanghai last September as well as some new pieces and some existing frames shown in new fabrics.
Due partly to their upper middle price points, some exhibitors said they weren't seeing much activity from the U.S. That included Star Furniture Group, which showed mostly new bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture in its space.
"U.S. buyers go for volume and lower prices," said Kenny Koh, group managing director. "Our main markets are the Middle East, Asia Pacific region and Europe. Europe is slow, but they are willing to pay more for better product."
Among the U.S. visitors to the Singapore show was Terry Seitz, president of contemporary case goods resource Woodbrook Designs. He said this was his first time at the show in about eight years.
"There was enough variety in Singapore that I would go back," he said. "The show has changed tremendously and it offers a broad mix."
In particular, he liked the international nature of the show and the fact that there were vendors from places like Indonesia and the Philippines.
"I did get a lot of great ideas I can translate into my product," he said, adding that he also found some factories that he will provide some CAD drawings to in order to get quotes on various items.

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