China International Furniture Fair (CIFF)

A few weeks ago, Marc attended his first furniture fair in Guangzhou, China. In addition to the mind-blowing nature of the country, the city, and the scale of the fair, the quality of the CIFF vendor’s presentation and professionalism was very impressive.

Above was the view from the hotel room. Guangzhou, and most pronouncedly, the area around the convention center comes out of a master plan approach to city-building. Looking down at the streets, it’s easy to picture architectural models, blueprints, and landscape design sketches. Centralized leadership and minimal citizen participation pave the way for efficient and rapid massive scale development — wide streets, towers in the park, traffic circles, large open plazas and robust infrastructure.

Scenes from a typical manufacturer’s showroom at the CIFF

According to Marc, this year’s CIFF was akin to the Milan Fair 10 years ago. Chinese furniture manufacturers, for the most part, have been in business just 12  years, and yet their level of sophistication — showrooms, product design, and catalogs reflect their international prowess. They are learning, adapting, and excelling at a very rapid pace.

The CIFF hosted over 400 furniture vendors — the majority of which were Chinese companies. A few vendors hailed from South Korea and Singapore.

Not everything is reminiscent of the European model. This unique chair, popular at the CIFF, is for the executive who wants comfort and who wants everyone to know who is in charge!

Every manufacturer offered a hefty print catalog to take home. In fact, the luggage company that set up shop at the convention center exit did a very brisk business. Attendees physically incapable of carrying their catalog collection were forced to buy a wheely just to make it back to their hotel!

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