The International Furniture Fair Singapore 2018 (IFFS 2018) concludes yet another successful edition from 8 to 11 March at the Singapore EXPO. The highly-anticipated fair, along with the co-locating 35th ASEAN Furniture Show (AFS) and NOOK Asia 2018, attracted over 19,196 trade professionals from 89 countries representing the furniture, furnishing, and interior design industries.
Since its inaugural edition in 1981, IFFS has served the furniture industry as a choice sourcing platform in Asia. This year, the fair features a comprehensive portfolio of 374 exhibiting companies from 26 countries, which put up an inspirational showcase of design-rich and innovative pieces.

The Singapore government recognized IFFS’ continuing efforts at pushing Asian and international furniture trade. Speaking at the IFFS 2018 Opening Ceremony, guest-of-honour Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), said, “IFFS has become Asia’s premier design-led sourcing platform, with a comprehensive and diverse range of furniture and furnishing designs from all around the world.” He continued, “With Singapore’s thriving innovation ecosystem, growing design scene, and strong linkages to the region, I am confident that the SFIC will continue its good work to support the development of the furniture industry.”

“The trade exhibitions scene and exhibitors’ needs are always evolving, and we need to keep up with the times by embracing change,” shared Mr Ernie Koh, Chairman of IFFS Pte Ltd. “The challenge is in finding the right balance between staying ahead, while still meeting our exhibitors’ needs. As the show continues to evolve, we will progressively reinvent ourselves to cater to the needs of our audiences.”
Excellent Exchanges All Around
Industry professionals left the fair with satisfaction about the quality of connections and conversations exchanged during the event.
“This is our first participation and we’re very happy with the results,” expressed Chirag Jain, Director of Just Wood. “As a manufacturer and exporter of Indian wooden furniture, my main objective is to meet importers and distributors who are keen on bringing our products to their markets. We managed to meet people from literally all over the globe, including buyers from the ASEAN region, Europe, Americas, and Australia. We are 100 percent certain of returning for the next edition.”
When asked about their experience at IFFS, visiting buyers echoed positive sentiments.
“We confirmed orders with a supplier from Turkey and another from Indonesia within the first 2 hours of the show, so I’d say that we have been successful so far,” explained Marion Horgan, Owner of retailer HORGANS. “We like the high-end, international offerings here, and find many exhibitors who offer a good combination of quality and price.”

Rabia Sarfaraz, Founder and Principal Interior Designer of In House Interiors, stated, “I’m a UAE-based interior designer, and this has been a great first-time experience for me here at IFFS. I’ve expanded my supplier database, and discovered many quality products from countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and India. There are some very good options for custom or bespoke products here, and the lead times are really amazing! I made some valuable contacts this week, so I’ll likely be back again next year.”

Awe-Inspiring Design-focused Features
The fair’s focus on design was demonstrated through its feature areas, displays, and knowledge-sharing seminars, and visitors looking for content-rich features were treated to a variety of inspiring, engaging, and immersive showcases that sparked conversations across the show floor. Popular feature areas captured visitors’ attention with their classy and sleek displays. These include the record-breaking 15 Country Pavilions, which featured the debut of four new pavilions from France, Japan, Portugal, and Turkey; The Italian New Renaissance, curated by Italian design icon, Giulio Cappellini; and CARTE BLANCHE, presented in collaboration with TANKE.LONDON/, curated by Founder of French design magazine Intramuros, Chantal Hamaide and directed by ARRO Studio.

The Design STARS Showcase, highlighting works by 10 global design talents, also drew in the crowds. Ryota Yokozeki of Ryota Yokozeki Studio, shared, “I’ve always dreamt of being able to design for companies around the globe, be it in Australia, Asia, the UK, or in Europe, and IFFS is helping me in my journey with its many international buyers and visitors. My friend was the one who introduced me to IFFS — we were both very impressed by what IFFS offered, so I decided to participate.”

In particular, visitors were treated to nine complimentary Design × Business Seminars, where design experts, architects, and creators gathered together to discuss and share their furniture industry experiences. Local Product Designer David Oei, who attended the seminar session featuring Giulio Cappellini and Chantal Hamaide in conversation, concluded, “I thought it was very informative. As a student-designer, I valued their candid sharing as it gave me greater insight to the professional world. I particularly appreciated Giulio’s reminder to designers to be mindful of cultural restrictions, and to respect the local culture in order to remain relevant.”

Relocation of IFFS 2019
At the IFFS 2018 Opening Ceremony, the organisers announced that as part of its rejuvenation efforts, IFFS 2019 will relocate to the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands (MBS). Set to take place from 9 – 12 March 2019, the fair expects attendance from a new wave of participants and exhibitors alike.

When asked about the move, Jan-Wout Hulstein, Founder of Asiades Ltd (Hong Kong), was supportive and pleased with the decision. He said, “I believe the new venue will pique people’s curiosity, and a different audience will be keen to come see the fair. Some of our customers come specially to meet with us here, and we’ve also received quality new leads from all over the world — from as far as South America, South Africa, and Europe. It was a fruitful time here at IFFS, and we’ll be there at MBS next year!”

Returning Singaporean exhibitor, SAM & SARA’s Creative Head, Saurabh Mangla, shared, “IFFS is the only furniture show we participate in within Asia. We’ve grown substantially thanks to the overwhelming support from IFFS, SFIC, and other exhibitors, who gave us the confidence to fire away with our ideas. Specifically, IFFS helps to increase the exposure of local design talents to the global design industry. Singapore has much to show to the world, and everybody stands to benefit from the move.”

Koh concludes, “Over the past 37 years, IFFS has been a bridge linking the Asian furniture industry to that of the West. The fair is a great platform for buyers, visitors, and exhibitors to make meaningful connections and enjoy exclusive networking opportunities. We believe that with our move to the Sands Expo and Convention Centre next year, we will be positioned to better cater to our exhibitors’ and buyers’ needs, deliver top notch content, and to invoke design-centric and innovative ideas.”