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Discovering the best in Southeast Asian design in Malaysia

IDC Members explore Malaysian design on latest trade mission

In March, Interior Designers of Canada members travelled to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) while IDC staff also visited Singapore for the sixth annual Singapore Design Week.

As the premier furniture fair in Southeast Asia, MIFF brings together over 600 exhibitors and 6,000 buyers from more than 140 countries. The Canadian delegates were able to peruse a range of furnishings, accessories, fittings, materials and hardware from 13 countries including Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, network with other industry professionals from around the world and build future partnerships with manufacturers and interiors designers.

“Visiting MIFF was an exceptional experience,” says IDC member Sanja Mrsa, who is based in Kitchener, Ont. “Young designers had the chance to work with manufacturers to develop furniture design strategies and brand solutions.”

IDC members also hosted a panel discussion introducing the association to a global audience, as well as highlighting a series of Canadian residential and hospitality projects.

The panel featured Sally Mills, IDC president and principal of design firm, Kasian, Barbora Krsiakova, IDC’s industry and partnerships manager, Krista Paine, project manager at Ian Paine Construction and Design, Kara MacGregor, principal of MAC Interior Design Inc, and Rebecca Genik, interior designer at Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture.

“IDC provided an opportunity of a lifetime when they selected interior designers from across Canada to represent the nation and present their local projects on an international stage,” says Paine, a registered interior designer, Red Seal carpenter and design educator based in Kelowna, BC. “MIFF did a fantastic job hosting the interior designers in Kuala Lumpur.”

Prior to joining trade mission delegates in Kuala Lumpur, IDC staff had an opportunity to explore events during Singapore Design Week (SDW). This year’s SDW included nearly 30 forums and discussions, 18 workshops, 15 exhibitions and eight tours. The programming all explored four themes: transform business, empower the community, inspire the everyday and reimagine the future.

IDC staff visited multiple exhibitions, including Design Trailblazers, which showcased projects that champion design as a solution to economic and social issues, and Contrast and Cohesion, which highlighted the interdisciplinary work of global architecture firm, G8A.

Staff also attended the Wallpaper Handmade networking event and tradeshow at the National Museum of Singapore. For the exhibition, Wallpaper magazine commissioned seven established Singapore-based designers and design studios to create one-off luxury products for the show, which will later be displayed during Milan Design Week in April.

In addition to these exhibitions, IDC staff also attended the SingaPlural lecture series, where Brandon Kruysman of San Francisco-based studio, Novel, spoke about the role of technology in design.

The trade mission to Kuala Lumpur provided IDC members with insight into the Southeast Asian design industry through networking with local manufacturers, meeting designers, attending innovative exhibitions and participating in panel discussions.

“Every detail of the trip was well thought out and beautifully crafted,” says Rebecca Genik, who spoke at the IDC panel at MIFF. “The MIFF trade mission was one of the best and without a doubt, a first-class experience.”

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