Mobilia Is Wired for Youth, Trends and the Future of Furniture

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by Matt Young, Furnish Now editor

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Not boring

That’s how Eric Chua, marketing manager of Mobilia International SdnBhd, describes the direction of the business.

Designed well themselves, they also soak up accessories and true elements of life, as our Furnish Now photoshoot design team found out.

“We are targeting the younger generation,” he said.

Sometimes Mobilia juxtaposes diverse elements ̶metal and wood, for example ̶  in the same dining table. And not just any wood. Mobilia makes the look of things the highest grade possible, using a walnut appearance for example, in the dining table we shot.

“Walnut is the highest-grade wood,” Mr. Chua said. “It’s very popular everywhere from Europe to the United States.”

Buyer details also are considered carefully. For example, while the walnut look is appreciated, real wood isn’t ideal.

“European markets prefer MDF rather than solid wood,” Mr. Chua said. “Wood cracks easily. So right now, they prefer everything to be MDF.”

Sometimes, Mobilia opts for simplicity in design, like with very open bookcases.

“You can obviously see everything in there,” he said. “We are not trying to have an elegant look.”

Other times, Mobilia opts for innovation.

“Our chair legs [at times] go put to the chair back,” he said. “They also have arm support, so it’s like an armchair for dining seating.”

That’s a specialty of Mobilia – the dining set.

“But we also produce coffee tables,” he said. “Our concept is that you can buy everything from Mobilia. We have bedrooms, dining, living and even bar sets. We have full collections. This is our vision.”

Mobilia also emphasises quality over quick work. Hence, they do make certain curves that others can’t. Sometimes that comes at a somewhat higher price tag, but then again, customers will pay for quality, unique factors.

Mr. Chua, meanwhile, sees trends emerging.

“The market is starting to change to lighter colors, which bring out the feeling of a young atmosphere,” he said. “Curved edges also prevent children from getting injured. And youngsters always like high-tech environments.”

Humble Roots, Bold Vision

Today, Mobilia is a very different company from what it was 20 years ago. Then, the company was producing an 8-leg sofa, and not much more. Later, the company produced parts for furniture factories doing exports. In 2010, Mobilia formally became an export furniture company.

In a sense, Mr. Chua’s own personal history also has seen great leaps and bounds. He once worked in a bank, then moved to garments in a factory, and finally found the furniture industry.

Mr. Chua is a natural furniture design talent, though, and an excellent listener, which soon helped transform Mobilia into the powerhouse that it is today.

“As long as you mix with a lot of foreign buyers, you can get a lot of information from them in terms of what they want” he said. “They have information from the [end] customer as well in terms of preference.”

Hence, Mr. Chua is keen on consumer-oriented thinking.

“Now everybody is busy,” he said. “When they go to find a piece of furniture, we have to know why they are buying new furniture. Mostly they are moving to a new house. They are thinking to have a design. They prefer to go to one furniture shop rather than ‘Today I go here, tomorrow I go there.’ That’s why we want to provide full collections. Our buyer can buy, then sell it.”

Interestingly, Mobilia isn’t even focused on specific markets, such as targeting the United States, the United Kingdom, or other regions or countries. The company is essentially targeting the world.

“When you are doing competitively priced items that only depends on the single-largest markets like the US, UK or Middle East, when the market goes down, the factory is affected,” he said. “We want to diversify our risk, and we have.”

Mobilia’s direction is solid. From 2010 until today, the company has experienced double-digit growth every year. It appears that focusing not only on solid construction ̶but on colours, booth design and even the finer booth presentation elements like lighting ̶  has helped Mobilia advance.

In 2018, meanwhile, Mobilia plans to exhibit in Malaysia, China and Germany.

“We are going to build a new factory in the next two years,” he added. “When you build a new factory, you need new capacity. We have to add that now with greater exposure.”

 Mobilia Design will be participating in MIFF 2018, 8-11 March, Kuala Lumpur. For more information, visit www.miff.com.my