The Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) envisioned the Professional Designers Programme (PDP), which is fully supported by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) under the 10th Malaysia Plan, as a sub-project of Furniture Design Development Project. MTIB envisages taking research in furniture design to the next level that is through the development of furniture designs with the Professional Designers and the Malaysian Furniture Manufacturers. PDP’s main objective is to reach the goal of 70% Own-Design Manufacturing (ODM) in the Malaysian furniture production by 2020.

PDP takes the best practices of the ODM/OBM business model and offers them to a selected number of Malaysian participant companies. Each year, it awards the services of four internationally -renowned product designers, blends them with the input and energy of the top-notch Malaysian product designers, and – after six months of development – presents the result of such a cooperation in a beautiful exhibition.

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The first edition of PDP (PDP1) began in the year 2015 with a group of international professional designers from Europe (Manolo Bossi, Stefan Schoning, Giorgio Biscaro and Filippo Mambretti) with a group of TANGGAM designers (Shahrul Anuwar, Mohd Sujak Hasbollah, Sim Chia Yi, Mohd Hazmi Zakaria, Addy Putra Zulkifli, Nasaruddin Shah Morani, Stephen Ting Eng Poh and Stephanie Ng Hui Sien) collaborating with a group of Malaysian furniture manufacturers (Deep Furniture, Tawei Furniture, Zone Furniture and Dynamic Furniture) which also engaged their in-house designers into PDP1.

These collaborators explored and studied each other’s strengths and capabilities and at the same time learn to adapt the Malaysian manufacturing culture to the standards of the international industrial design processes. The locals had more to learned from the Europeans in the ways of the Design-based production, especially for furniture and furnishings. PDP1 saw the production of 20 new furniture designs from this group of collaborators that went on to prototyping and were finally showcased as Design@Hall8 (PDP Showcase) during the Export Furniture Exhibition (EFE) in March 2016.

PDP1 began in July 2015 and ended in April 2016.

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The second edition of PDP (PDP2) took off in the month of November 2016 with the enrolment of the same European designers as the mentors and collaborators to the group of young local designers from TANGGAM (Mohd Sujak Hasbollah, Vivian Shiwei, Ezran Zainal, Shahril Faisal, Eric Wong, Mohd Hazmi Zakaria, Stephen Ting Eng Poh, Stephanie Ng Hui Sien and Mohd Noor Ariffin) and the local Malaysian furniture manufacturers (Hup Chong Furniture, IB Sofa, NSF Manufacturing and Jukraf Furniture).

This edition saw the designers as a more structured delegation which began with understanding the market targets and aiming for finished products end-result. However, PDP2 only had less than 3 months to plan, structure, propose and prototype in order to showcase the finished products by March 2017 – it was a very tight deadline.

Despite the shorter timeframe, PDP2 managed to produce 20 finished products by March 2017 and they were all showcased in PDP Showcase DESIGN@HALL7 during EFE 2017.

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MTIB launched the third edition of PDP in October 2017 with a fresh new outlook and many high expectations. This edition is aiming a specific market which is Australia with the assistance from the Australian Furniture Association (AFA), led by its CEO – Ms Patrizia Torelli. In 2015, Australia imported nearly RM13 billion furniture and is steadily increasing at 2% annually. Australia has a local furniture market valued at almost RM35 billion annually.

The Malaysian furniture export market to Australia in 2015 was valued at RM688 million and increased by 8% to RM743 million in 2016. In 2015, Australia is the 4th largest Malaysian furniture importer after the United States, Japan and Singapore.

The international professional designers now are a combination of Europeans and Australians – Manolo Bossi and Stefan Schoning from Europe are joined by their counterparts from Australia – Peter Kitely, Peter Hutchinson, Carmello Princiotto and Vince Cosentino. This group of international professional designers are collaborating with the local Malaysian designers from the TANGGAM initiatives – Fakrul Aazmey, Harith Radzuan, Izyan Syamimi Zainol, Lim Bo Qiang, Mohd Noor Ariffin, Ezran Zainal, Sim Chia Yi, Vivian Shiwei and Eric Wong.

The Malaysian furniture manufacturers involved in PDP3 are Zolano Sofa, Crown Livin’, and Value Plus from the Klang Valley together with First Flame and Keppel Woods from Muar. The expected outcome of PDP3 will also include the certification and testing of the finished products to add value to the newly designed furniture products thus making them more marketable.

The Australian standards are one of the best standards in the world, and having this specific compliance will definitely increase our furniture exports to Australia, and hopefully to the rest of the world.

• Crown Livin
• First Flame
• Keppel Wood Industries
• Value Plus
• Zolano Sofa

• Carmelo Princiotto
• Fakrul Hakam Bin Ahmad Aazmey
• Harith Radzuan
• Izyan Syamimi Binti Zainol
• Lim Bo Qiang
• Manolo Bossi
• Mohd Noor Ariffin
• Muhamad Ezran Bin Zainal Abdullah

• Peter Kitely
• Peter Hutchinson
• Stefan Schöning
• Sim Chia Yi
• Vince Cosentino
• Vivian Lam Shi Wei
• Wong Weng Hoe

This edition of PDP will involve the Australian Furniture Association (AFA) in overseeing 4 Australian Designers for mentoring and collaboration efforts with the Malaysian Designers and Furniture Manufacturers. Ms. Patrizia Torelli, the CEO of AFA will lead this delegation during Trip 1 of PDP3.

The Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC) and its international Export Furniture Exhibition (EFE) have been strong supporters of PDP and in this edition, MFC, which is also a member of PDP3’s Steering Committee, is overseeing the participation of the Malaysian Furniture Manufacturers. Mr. Chua Chun Chai, the President of MFC will be heading this effort.

The business models of the modern furniture world are the most diverse: yet, if we take into account the global case histories, we discover two main different "themes". The first is the one which has established the success of Malaysia and China as furniture manufacturers: the OEM model.

If we look at their selling values – especially relating to the number of pieces made – we discover that the average markup on each product is truly impressive. When we see an industry standard, on an OEM model, of 20%, we find that an ODM/OBM model ensures a markup of around 200% – ten times as that.

As our business industry is transforming, also our goals and markets must follow. Every analysis shows that – in the next twenty years – the Asian middle class will become the most important in the whole world. And to serve it right, we – as an industry – have to be ready. MFPC, a Government Agency under the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC), which is working in close cooperation with the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), has envisioned this future – and is actively doing something for the Malaysian industry to prepare for this vision.

This is why it has created a program designed to kickstart the creative evolution of the business, so to be ready for this transformation into the modern marketing and design-oriented industry that its current and future clients want and need. The PDP – Professional Designers Programme, now in its second edition, is this initiative and has been envisioned by the MTIB to be the Furniture Design Development Program that will enable the furniture industry to achieve the 16RM Billion export value goal of the National Timber Industry Policy (NATIP) for 2020.

**Excerpts from an article written for PDP2 (2016/2017) by Roberta Mutti and Franz Rivoira

It will be a JOURNEY of learning about;

- the processes of Designing
- the elements for Designs
- the stories that can be told through Designs

It will be a JOURNEY of discovering about our own local talents and our abilities as both Designers & Manufacturers. We will discover or re-discover;

- our strengths
- our creativity
- our passion

- our cultural diversity
- and many more other great LIFESTYLE qualities

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– Enhanced Furniture value through Original Designs

– Enhanced Design capabilities of the Local Designers and Manufacturers

– Original Furniture Designs by the International Professional Designers and the Local Designers

– Finished and commercially available Products that have been designed by the participating Designers and Manufacturers

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Vince Cosentino
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Peter Kitely
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Bo Qiang
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Eric Wong
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Manolo Bossi
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Vivian Shiwei
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Stefan Schöning
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Carmello Princiotto
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Filippo Mambretti
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Giorgio Biscaro
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Dynamic Furniture
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Deep Furniture
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Tawei Furniture
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Zone Furniture
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Hup Chong Furniture
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IB Sofa
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Jukraf Furniture
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NSF Manufacturing
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