Affordable, chic and often blending traditional influences and modern designs, Thai brands have made their way into Singapore’s furniture and homeware market. Savvy Singaporeans might have picked up a few Thai-designed items on their weekend jaunts to Bangkok, but now they no longer need to hop on a plane to get quality wares from the Land of Smiles. In the past few years, at least 10 brands are being stocked by multi-label retailers here. Many are brought in by Singapore fans who had chanced on these labels while on holiday, found them online or spotted them at furniture fairs.
For example, Grafunkt, a home- grown multi-label retailer that stocks big European names such as Danish label Hay and Ton from the Czech Republic, started selling a Thai-made furniture series called Cane Collection in May. The brand had a booth at the annual International Furniture Fair Singapore in March.
The pieces feature silhouettes and simple curves using solid wood and cane webbing. The cane material is grown in Thailand. The pieces are designed by Atelier2+ and manufactured by Podium, a wood-crafting expert. Other Thai brands sold here include Qualy, an award-winning home accessories and kitchenware brand that is known for its witty designs; and Pana Objects, which makes simple and beautiful wooden pieces such as stationery holders. Retailers say Thai designs are original, well-crafted and often utilise traditional techniques and materials.
Mr Alvin Tan, 34, owner of Bibliotek Design Store, says: “Thai brands can hold their own in the world of design. They have a seamless ability to combine modern aesthetics with traditional crafts such as woodworking and embroidery.”
His online store carries Pana Objects and Ease Embroidery, a brand that makes embroidered cushions and framed art pieces. While Thai design may have its own quirks, it generally taps into a popular style now: the pervasive Japanese minimalism trend. So the lines are clean and simple, wood is a dominant material and furniture is compact and multi-functional to cater to small apartment dwellers.