The winners of the Creative ASEAN Furniture Design Contest were announced during the awards ceremony at Style Fair 2018 in Bangkok on 17 October. Organised by the EU-funded ARISE+ IPR programme and the Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) Thailand, the contest aims to raise awareness among designers in the region on the importance of creativity and protecting their intellectual property.
The Head of Operations of the European Union Delegation to Thailand Jerome Pons and the Director General of the DIP Thosapone Dansuputra awarded trophies to the winning designers, namely Su Htwe (Myanmar), Ong Sze Xian (Malaysia), Clark Mendoza (Philippines), Jessica Wong (Singapore), Wareesa Lakanathampichit and Artipon Deewongkij (Thailand), and Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang (Viet Nam).
The winners have been given the opportunity to exhibit their works at a dedicated exhibition area during the four-day fair. The winners will also participate in an internship at a leading furniture design company in Southeast Asia. The internship will give the winning designers the opportunity to interact with senior furniture designers to enhance their skills and gain a better appreciation of the importance of protecting their designs.
The winning designs were selected from a large number of high-quality submissions. At the national phase, each of the participating IP offices received submissions and shortlisted five entries for further evaluation. The five finalists from each country were carefully evaluated by an expert panel based on a comprehensive set of criteria, including technical aspects, aesthetics, sustainability, originality and innovation.
Original furniture pieces may be protected under industrial design and copyright laws, particularly their ornamental aspects. The protection of IP rights helps prevent the design from being copied, allowing the creator to maximise the financial gains that result from their creativity.
The winning designs are as follows:
- Malaysia – Ong Sze Xian – “Hygge”
The “Hygge” is a 2.5-person love seat and stool set from Malaysian designer Ong Sze Xian. The five stools cleverly slot into the back rest of the main piece and can be rearranged as required. As the ergonomic design suggests, Hygge is a Danish concept of coziness and contentment. The design may also have a range of colour options.
- Myanmar – Su Htwe – “Celes”
“Celes” is a side-table and lamp combination by Su Htwe from Myanmar. The striking piece incorporates woven rattan over a metal frame of isosceles triangles, welded into a square; a design well-suited for larger production runs.
“My initial purpose for Celes was to be a lamp only, but the light was glaring too much. I wanted Celes to be placed at the corners of bedrooms or hotel lobbies to provide a classic atmosphere, so I decided to add another layer - a rectangular box - inside the triangles to soothe the glare, and close the top to be used as a table,” she notes.
- The Philippines – Clark Mendoza – “ROL Low Seat”
The “ROL Low Seat” designed by Clark Mendoza from the Philippines incorporates leather and abaca fibres and can be conveniently reconfigured or unrolled into separate mats. Mr. Mendoza takes inspiration for the design from the use of materials readily available in his locality. He is currently working on the design graduate training program at the Design Centre of the Philippines.
- Singapore – Jessica Wong – “Jiaju Rocking Stool”
The “Jiaju Rocking Stool” was designed by the co-founder of Scene Shang furniture and homeware, Jessica Wong, from Singapore. The design takes inspiration from traditional Chinese Ming furniture, using the clean lines and symmetry in a contemporary aesthetic. Mortise and tenon joints and wicker weave details add to the robust and tactile qualities that people are familiar with from long-lasting Ming pieces.
- Thailand – Wareesa Lakanathampichit and Artipon Deewongkij – “Duo Seat”
The “Duo Seat” by Wareesa Lakanathampichit and Artipon Deewongkij from Thailand is intended for elderly users. The seat is designed for bathroom shower spaces and features a water-proof clothes bag and built-in rubber floor mat to prevent slipping. The compact solution is ideal for smaller spaces, such as ensuites. Both designers have recently completed industrial design degrees at Chulalongkorn University.
- Viet Nam – Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang – “Double Table”
Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang from Viet Nam designed the compact and tactile “Double Table”. The gorgeous timber and metal piece incorporates a storage space with concertina covers and a slide-out utility surface, encouraging interactivity. Ms. Nguyen is in her final year of an interior design degree at Ho Chi Minh Architectural University.