Paving the Way for Successful Youths
Published 11th August 2014
MIFF Furniture Design Competition (FDC) 2015 is open and eagerly awaits all creative
entries (closing date 10 Oct 2014). For those still on the fence, or the excited bunch that
are already well on their way, here is just a little nudge for that extra spark.
Experience the impact of MIFF Furniture Design Competition (FDC) through the lens
of those that made it. Big time! Little did many of them knew that the end of the competition
was when they embarked on their real journey, some started their own brands, while some
even received offers from half way round the world. Kudos to them.
Bernie Quah – 1st Prize Ideation Award 2011 (Winning Design: Samarata)
As MIFF FDC was formerly known as the Ideation award, Bernie Quah was one of MIFF’s
most successful alumnae. From her encouraging MIFF win at the tender age of 19, Ms. Quah
went on to establish herself as a high-in-demand graphic recorder. For the uninitiated,
doodlers of data are illustrators who transform live seminars, workshops, and speeches
into fun, impactful visuals that capture the essence of the message.
“Graphic recordings simplify complex ideas to engage people, making ideas stick,”
Ms. Quah said. “Illustration has always come naturally to me as a child. I found my
skills valuable as I attended conferences and began illustrating notes.” The knowledge
gained through working with other industry professionals during MIFF was useful in her
experiment with different mediums. “Winning MIFF definitely helped build my confidence
as a designer.”
Sim Chia Yi – 1st Prize Ideation Award 2012 (Winning Design: Just Like Old Times)
Beating out 177 entries with a clever wok-shaped chair that integrated traditional culture
and contemporary lifestyle, Ms. Sim received plenty of media coverage – and offers from
manufacturers to design their furniture –after her FDC victory.
So why did she turn them down?
“As a designer I want more flexibility,” she explained. “I chose the path that creates
more opportunities rather than being tied up to a sole manufacturer.” Nevertheless, the
competition was an invaluable opportunity to gain first-hand insights into the competitive
design industry, before plunging into it herself.
“I got to understand how we can, through design, contribute to, shape and change the
economy,” she said. “I could see why the industry and government were providing platforms
and opportunities for designers.”
Every designer dreams of having her own brand. Demonstrating a long-term vision that belies
her youth, Ms. Sim has set up her own brand, Missim Design.
Emmy Kong – Joint 1st prize MIFF FDC 2013 (Winning Design: Unity Table)
Not only did Ms. Kong win big at MIFF FDC, she was flooded with offers after the competition,
which included an internship at a distinguished furniture company. But the highlight must
have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate with a manufacturer that came
with her first trip to Europe.
“It was by far, one of the most unforgettable and humbling experiences I've had,” she
recalled. “I had an amazing experience helping the manufacturer for his exhibition in Europe
last autumn. I learnt how to develop an idea and furniture from scratch to the end product,
create marketing strategies and manage sales with clients from different countries. ”
Her experience provided her with a better understanding of the furniture market – and what
she needed to make it globally.
Kok Wen Yee – Joint 1st prize MIFF FDC 2013 (Winning Design: Jerome Board)
Like Ms. Kong, joint first prize winner Kok Wen Yee also was wooed by furniture manufacturers
eager to leverage on her talent after the competition. “The best one was a chance to work as
a furniture designer for a company in Washington DC,” Ms. Kok said.
Since she was still studying, she did not accept any of the offers. However, she is keeping
her options open for the future. “The best thing about the competition is seeing your design
being built in real-life, and also recognised by so many people,” Ms. Kok said. “I really
enjoyed the entire process, from design to construction. It is such an educational experience.”
Who will reign supreme at MIFF FDC 2015 themed 'Living Furniture, Global Perspective'?
Only time will tell. In the mean time, let your imagination run wild, knock yourselves out, and
may the best design win!