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Taiwan-made Metal Furniture Shapes to New Lifestyles

Manufacturers adapt to the mobile generation

Dec 17, 2013 | By Michelle Hsu

Welltrust`s metal furniture comes in a colorful array of light and bright colors.Welltrust`s metal furniture comes in a colorful array of light and bright colors.
Exports of metal furniture from Taiwan have held steady despite market fluctuations, underscoring the global competitiveness of the domestic industry.

Metal is more flexible than many other furniture materials, such as wood, rattan, glass, and plastics, making it well-suited to making furniture a variety of shapes. Metal parts are also commonly used to complement other materials in furniture. These merits, plus the strong quality reputation of Taiwan-made metal furniture, have given domestic producers in the sector an advantage in the global market.
"Metal furniture is the most popular type of furniture for SOHO (small office and home office) use," says Charly Lin, managing director of Welltrust Industries Co., a major metal and plastic furniture supplier in Taiwan. "The popularity of iPads and other mobile devices for business use has changed the way people work and dampened demand for traditional office furniture," Lin noted.

Lin says that his company has seen increased demand for lightweight and simple-designed metal furniture. According to Lin, such furniture is not only easy to move, but also provides an easy, relaxing working ambiance that fits the work styles and habits of people who rely on mobile devices at work. People no longer sit all day in front of desk and are able to move around more and relax while working.

In line with this trend, Welltrust has introduced several new metal furniture sets, each composed of a table and two to four chairs. Lin notes that lower-height tables, like sofa set and side tables, are now frequently used for work. These kinds of tables feel less formal and serious than a traditional working desk, helping people relax at work, Lin says.

Most of Welltrust's metal furniture is in light and bright colors that match the colorful style of mobile electronic devices.

Basic hues like white and black dominate Cheer Yield`s computer table line.Basic hues like white and black dominate Cheer Yield`s computer table line.
Primary Colors
At Cheer Yield Enterprise Co., by comparison, most of the metal furniture products are in primary colors, like black, white, shining gray or silver. The company says that these hues most easily match other colors. The company uses special surface processing techniques to give the furniture a shiny appearance complementing the look of modern electronic devices.

Established in 1982, Cheer Yield offers a full line of metal furniture, including TV stands, TV mounts, shelves, tables, desk, storage carts, and home office series. Most products are designed by the company and some have patent-protected functions or structures.
As computers and other electronic devices shrinking in size, Cheer Yield has been producing PC desks and other work tables in ever smaller sizes. Some have leg wheels for easier moving.

Cheer Yield specializes in welding, punching, folding and other metal working steps, and contracts out the finishing process, all to high environmental protection standards. In addition to its own-designed and own-brand items, the company takes OEM orders. The U.S., Europe, Japan and Taiwan are its major markets.

"HoMelody" introduced several new console table models with mirror finishes.
Mirror desk top
"HoMelody" is a brand name of Homedecore Manufacturing Co., an overseas subsidiary of Fine Year Woodwork Co., which was first established as a specialized wood furniture maker in Taiwan during 1972. The company shifted focus to metal furniture after the government introduced forestry conservation policies. In 2000, the company opened a factory in China. Since then, it has steadily expanded its business to become a global leader in the niche of console tables with mirrors. Most of the company's console sets are made with metal and chrome or matte silver finish to present a light and airy look that fits well with both modern and traditional furnishings.

According to company's vice president Andrew Chen, chrome or matte silver are the two most popular colors for slim console tables. In most homes, slender console tables are mainly for decoration and have artwork on top. They can fit just about anywhere, from living room and dining room to entryway or hall. Some console table comes with mirrors and the sets are usually designed with the same color and graphic patterns.

This year "HoMelody" introduced several new models of console tables that are fully mirrored, except on the back side. "The mirrors create a feeling of space," says Chen. In his view, metal is the best material to use for mirrored furniture.

O`Smile International`s water pipe furniture has a casual, retro style that is suitable for use in personal workshops or theme-based restaurants.O`Smile International`s water pipe furniture has a casual, retro style that is suitable for use in personal workshops or theme-based restaurants.
Retro style
O'Smile International Co., in early 2013, presented a casual, retro style line of water pipe furniture suitable for use in personal workshops or theme-based restaurants. It reflects the spirit of the heavy industrial age during the 1960s or early 1970s: an era dominated by the cement, steel-making, or other industrial material manufacturing industries.

During that time, the U.S. was the industrial leader of the world, so O'Smile's water pipe furniture evokes an American style. One piece, a big rustic metal storage case, is finished with an American flag pattern. The stools have round wooden seats and black water pipe legs, evoking the bold and generous style of the southern United States. One of the chair models has a cement cart seat, evoking the spirit of hard-work during the industrial age.
"The nostalgic appeal makes the water pipe furniture attractive to those who cherish the memory of old days," said Chris Wu, general manager of the company. The new retro variations, however, breathe new life into the old style and give metal furniture a new look.

Wu notes that the structure design of water pipe furniture is quiet complex. The pipes have to be formed into particular shapes or curves. Most of the pipes in O'Smile's furniture line are especially well shaped and show a particular attention in the finish. The furniture needs to be treated to prevent rust, but in a way that retains the original appearance of the water pipes.


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