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Paving the Way for Successful Youths

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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!