Product intros flow freely at Singapore fair
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, April 2, 2010
Kuka’s new home concept, shown here at the International Furniture Fair Singapore, will have a major launch at the High Point Market. The line includes leather and fabric upholstery, bedroom, dining room, occasional tables and display cabinets.
Buyers from around the world saw a healthy slate of intros at the International Furniture Fair Singapore/ASEAN Furniture Show, which ran March 9-12. The event featured 434 companies from 31 countries showing in about 600,000 square feet at the Singapore Expo.
Bedroom and dining room pieces with natural wood tops and lighter wood-tone finishes dominated the wood landscape. Many of these also had industrial flourishes such as fitted pipe frames and bases.
Contrasting high-gloss black and white finishes also were common, as were mixed-media elements such as glass tabletops and crystal accents.
While many of the designs had clean, contemporary lines, a number of groups were softened with details such as creamy white finishes, upholstered headboards and dining chairs in button-tufted, velvet fabrics.
On the upholstery side, a wide variety of new frames ranged from curved sectionals to reclining home theater groups with matching chaise lounges. Based on the scale and price points, some of the product was geared towards buyers in Europe and Asia.
However, a number of exhibitors, including Kuka and Halo, are active suppliers to the U.S. market
Leather specialist Kuka unveiled its new Kuka Home concept, which includes European country-inspired living room, bedroom and dining room furniture in white finishes and natural wood tabletops.
Halo had a soft launch of its new licensed Esquire Home collection, which included a chests and upholstery pieces in leathers and fabrics meant to reflect today's trends in menswear. Another new collection, Hollywood Glamour, featured upholstery in colorful velvet fabrics.
Kuka and Halo will have major launches of their new lines at the High Point Market, which opens April 17.
Star Furniture devoted most of its space to new contemporary bedroom and dining room. Among the highlights was the Almira dining set, featuring an oval table with stainless steel legs and a black glass top. Matching occasional tables were shown with a curved white sofa.
Singapore-based sofa producer Univonna showed a new line of mostly upper-medium-priced to high-end leather upholstery and home theater seating available in multiple colors.
Univonna and Star are part of Singapore Mozaic, a brand initiative launched in 2008 by the Singapore Furniture Inds. Council. The goal is to help promote Singapore-based furniture companies known for their design capabilities, service-oriented business practices and the experience of their management and workers.
Haleywood Inds., another Mozaic member, showed a line of new, mostly contemporary and transitional bedroom, casual dining and occasional made with oak, ash, elm and birch solids. Many pieces had lighter-tone finishes that emphasized the natural wood grains.
Singapore Mozaic members Home of Homes and Koda also had plenty of new product offerings. Home of Homes launched several European and French country-influenced dining tables, buffet hutches and display cabinets, many in light finishes.
Most exhibitors in Singapore said they were pleased with traffic and the quality of the buyers at the show. Show officials said the event drew 17,277 trade visitors from 112 countries, up 10.7% from last year's event.
One U.S. visitors at the show was Michael Amini, CEO of importer AICO. Amini said he has been coming to Singapore for years and believes it is one of the best shows in Asia as far as the number of companies, countries and products represented.
"In Singapore, they are generally companies that are better companies," he said. "And since they come from all different parts of the world, they are more exposed to exports so they understand foreign goods and standards a lot better than at some of the shows I have seen."
Miami Gardens, Fla.-based retailer El Dorado Furniture sent a group of buyers including Chief Operating Officer Pedro Capo. It was the first time the store has been to the show, Capo said.
He said Singapore had a number of outdoor furniture vendors that El Dorado can possibly do business with in the future.
And while he believes the indoor furniture was largely tailored to the local and Australian market, he plans to return to the show within the next two or three years.
For more coverage and photos from the Singapore show, see the April 5 print issue of Furniture/Today.
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