TEMPO Interactive, Surakarta:Furniture craftsmen in Surakarta have so far been relying on the designs made by foreign buyers. “From 218 furniture businessmen in Surakarta, only 10 percent design their own products,” said the Surakarta Indonesian Furniture Association chief in charge of Raw Materials, J.B. Susanto, yesterday. He admitted that so far furniture craftsmen have not invested much in designs.
Yet, designs become important if Surakarta’s furniture wants to compete with products in the international market. The Industry Ministry’s Forestry Products Industry director, Aryan Warga Dalam, said design is the most important aspect of winning the market. “We have opened a design center for wooden furniture in Jepara and for rattan furniture in Cirebon,” he said. The design center will help the craftsmen in designing models according to the international market’s needs. With attractive designs, he hoped that Indonesia’s furniture exports will increase. In 2009, furniture exports were valued at US$ 2,3 billion to major destination countries like the US, Japan, China, and Saudi Arabia.