Taiwanese manufacturers are already known around the world for their competence at OEM (original equipment manufacturing), and now the island's furniture makers are striving to upgrade their positioning in the global supply chain to act as ODM (original design manufacturing) partners. Some are even launching innovative products under their own brand names.
They have made significant progress in this latest effort, and this achievement has been recognized by the granting of a large number of awards in local and international competitions.
Some of award-winning products were displayed at a special pavilion called the “ROC Centennial Celebration: Taiwan Furniture Retrospection” at the 21st Taipei International Furniture Show (TIFS) in March this year.
The “Supple Couch” series by Daren Hong won the first prize at the 1994 Taiwan Craftsmanship Awards organized by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRDI).
The “Supple Couch” series took the first prize at the 1994 Taiwan Craftsmanship Awards organized by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRDI), a prestigious organization dedicated to promoting traditional craftsmanship and art in Taiwan.
According to designer Darjen Hong, the “Supple Couch” presents a furniture style similar to that of the Ming Dynasty, a period characterized by the pursuit of simplicity in daily life. Ming-style furniture features a simple structure and sleek appearance.
Hong himself runs a furniture design company, called Darren Arts, which is dedicated to the research and promotion of Ming-style furniture which, he says, is his favorite furniture style. Hong believes that furniture best represents the art and culture of a people, and through his design he hopes to present the wisdom and living philosophy of the Chinese people.
The “Supple Couch” is distinguished by a spacious seating space, allowing freedom for people to change positions on the couch—which in Chinese language is called a “day bed” where people can lie down for a rest.
The “Zen Chair,” a winner of the Innovative Design Award presented at the Taipei International Furniture Show 1993, is a masterpiece by designer Lee Wan-tsai, who worked as an interior designer and builder for 15 years before turning to furniture design. When he worked as an interior designer, his clients included the Grand Hotel, Hilton Hotel, and other prominent five-star hotels in Taiwan.
The “Zen Chair” is a winner of an Innovative Design Award presented at the Taipei International Furniture Show 1993.
The “Zen Chair” features an extra-large seating space compared with other chairs. It is so large that a user can cross his or her legs, or put both feet up on the seat. According to Lee, his design is aimed at generating a free style of life where people can sit in a chair in any posture and enjoy a feeling of relaxation. The “Zen Chair” is claimed to be ideal for the crossing of legs for meditation.
In fact, as Lee said, the spacious seating design itself generates a visual feeling of relaxation, which is the chair's main design concept.
In a style similar to that of Ming Dynasty furniture, the “Zen Chair” is characterized by the use of unpainted solid wood. Despite the lack of paint, the chair's finish looks subtle, shiny, and smooth, the result of high-quality finishing techniques.
As an experienced wood-processing worker, Lee prefers to present the beauty of the texture and grain of natural wood.
The High Stool, developed by Seasonal Furniture Store, won a Taiwan Craftsmanship Award from NTCRDI.
The “High Stool,” a winner of a Taiwan Craftsmanship Award conferred by the NTCRDI, features legs that are longer than those of ordinary chairs and stools. According to the stool's maker, the Seasonal Furniture Store, the extra height provides extra convenience, making it easier for someone sitting on the stool to remove items from a cupboard alongside. While most stools are made for use with tables, this one is designed for cupboards.
In ancient China, stools were the most common items of seating furniture, used not only in the dwellings of the poor but also frequently seen in the houses of the wealthy. The “High Stool” has a concave seat stretching between the legs to enhance supporting power and assure steadiness.
While simple in structure and appearance, the “High Stool” presents a refined wood finish and a refined taste for the casual life.
EA650S Dining Room Set
The “EA650S Dining Room Set,” developed by the Euro American Industrial Corp., won the Best Design Award presented at the Taipei International Furniture Show 2006.
The EA650S Dining Room Set, produced by the Euro American Industrial Corp., took a Best Design Award at the Taipei International Furniture Show 2006.
Euro American, established in 1975, specializes in the production of metal-tubing furniture designed for easy self-assembly by the end customer. This convenience, however, does not come at the expense of high quality or stylish design. The “EA650S Dining Room Set,” for example, has a delicate appearance and is easy to assemble. Its table is made with a glass top supported by metal-tubing legs. The chairs are made with metal tubing frames and covered with synthetic leather to generate a harmonious and high-quality appearance. The ㄑshape of the chair's back is claimed to provide extra comfort.
Earlier, Euro American won the Best Design Award at the International Furniture Fair Singapore 2000 (IFFS 2000) for its “EA515CS Steel Mesh Chair,” featuring a stylish steel frame along with a mesh back and seat. The chair has a sturdy steel structure with a bright and refined finish that adds to its elegant and stylish appearance.
Phoenix Chair Pair
The Yung Hsing Furniture Co., which operates a wood furniture museum in southern Taiwan, has won several awards for its wooden furniture. Among its award-winning products, the “Phoenix Chair Pair” stands out with its combination of the best quality red wood and Swarovski crystal, produced through a cooperative project between the company and the world's most prestigious crystal maker.
The “Phoenix Chair Pair,” a winner of a Taiwan Craftsmanship Award from the NTCRDI, is made of 0.32-meter cubes of Myanmar red wood and is decorated with floral images of crystal that extend from the chair's back to the seat. The smooth wood finish along with the crystal gives the chairs a particularly sparkling look.
Adjustable Classroom Furniture
The Adjustable Classroom Furniture developed by the Singbee Furniture Co. won the Best-selling Award presented at the Taipei International Furniture Show 1996.
The “Adjustable Classroom Furniture” made by the Singbee Furniture Company was a winner of the Best-selling Award presented at the Taipei International Furniture Show 1996. Made with an ABS table top and chair seat supported by steel frames, the “Adjustable Classroom Furniture” features an adjustable-height design for both the table and chair. This makes the furniture usable by elementary school students of any age.
The “Adjustable Classroom Furniture” comes in a delightful green color to highlight its eco-friendliness—all materials used are recyclable.
As a professional maker of children's furniture, Singbee has witnessed the evolution of the children's furniture market over the years. “Children's furniture has become more complicated in structure than before, with an increasing emphasis on comfort, convenience, and prolonged life cycle,” observed a company representative.
Extension Office Chair
The “Extension Office Chair” from Kuo Ching Furniture Decoration Co. won the KAPOK Prize presented by the China Industrial Design Association and Guangzhou Design Week 2010. The KAPOK Prize is claimed to be the only Chinese award which is certified by the three big international design organizations—the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (ICOGRADA), and the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI).
Featuring an ergonomic design, the “Extension Office Chair” allows people to extend their body while sitting on the chair—the chair back is stretchy, allowing it to move back and forth. The chair also has wheeled legs, making it easy to move the chair around.
Kuo Ching, established in 1979, is dedicated to the production of high-quality OA furniture, with operations in both Taiwan and China.
Talent-QQ OA Chair
The “Talent-QQ OA Chair,” made by the Jia Goang Furniture Industry Co., is a winner of the Golden Prize presented at the Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart 2008.
The Talent-QQ OA Chair, made by the Jia Goang Furniture Industry Co., was a winner of the Golden Prize presented at the Taipei International Invention Show & Technomart 2008.
Touted as a combination office and leisure chair, the “Talent-QQ OA Chair” is designed to support any posture of the sitter, providing maximum comfort and relief of fatigue. The two-piece mesh back provides extra elasticity for the chair, which has a loading capacity of up to 160kg. Made primarily of lightweight plastic and synthetic fibers, the wheeled “Talent-QQ OA Chair” is easy and convenient to move about while being as sturdy as a chair made of steel.
(by Michelle Hsu)