Abdullah Al Rashid Ab. Hamid., Junaidy, D.W., Nor Hamizah Abdul Hamid, Muhamad Ezran Zainal Abdullah, Mohd Firuz Mohd Anwar, Mohd Firdaus Mohd Herrow. (2017). Rattan and Wood Furniture Industry Joint Design Training: Design Enhancement of Malaysia School Furniture. In Abstract of 4th National Conference on Knowledge Transfer (NCKT’17), 11-12 Dec, 2017, Kedah

We have conducted five design training throughout a series of rattan design training in line with Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP) under the National Strategic Higher Learning Plan established in accordance to University-Industry Partnership. Its aim is to promote a closer partnership between the academia and industry. We bring together a local wooden furniture manufacturer that has been continuously producing wooden school furniture set and a local rattan furniture producer to re-enhance the use of material on the school desk and chair for elementary school. The result shows a lighter volume, material efficiency, convenient and visually attractive appearance of rattan-wooden school desk and chair. This joint design training would allow interdependence for both party to exchange skills/expertise and materials that might sustain their production in the future.  

Keywords: school furniture, rattan-wooden furniture, knowledge transfer program, design enhancement.

1. A learning from previous design training

Previously, we have conducted a series of design training to promote the transfer of knowledge through the exchange of creative and innovative ideas between some local rattan furniture industries in Kelantan, Malaysia. All five-consecutive training are as follows

1st workshop: The past, present, and future of rattan design across the world.

2nd workshop: Theory and knowledge of utilizing characteristics of rattan material.

3rd workshop: Advance detail mock-up making

4th workshop: Rattan-Wooden School Furniture Design

5th workshop: Prototyping of Rattan-Wooden School Furniture Design

Throughout the design training session, specifically after the 3rd workshop, we realized the difficulty to attract the involvement of rattan industry players. This may due to the lack of understanding of how design can be a perfect medium to boost up rattan industries in this nation. On the other hand, the local rattan craftsman is reluctant to propose a new style and design because they commonly do copying designs from the Internet. After a thorough review, the main problems are:

    1. The reluctance to change and to try new design and method.
    2. Market uncertainties.


    Furthermore, these rattan workshop has shown a possibility of combining the material element in the school furniture design. Mixed materials may become the essence to enhance the value of the product. However, a wood material should become the most prominent material element due to Malaysian social factor and local geographical landscape.

    The 4th workshop was held from 24th of May 2017 to 26th May 2017 in University Malaysia Kelantan. Two industries involved in the workshop were Mega Rotan Deco and Nik Lah Industri. All industry participants had previously participated in the basic design training module. They were then given a task to choose one type of furniture to be developed using their own business nature strength. Mega Rotan Deco chose Cane Sofa as their subject and Nik Lah Industri chose a school study furniture. The objective of this task is to bring up the demand and quality of their selected products through a design enhancement perspective. On the other hand, the new design should have the possibility of penetrating the global market. 

    2. Literature in school furniture design & design training delivery

    Design methodology implemented in the 4th and 5th design training programmes is in line with the characteristics of the conceptual ideation process of master craft persons to inform design education (Junaidy, et. al. 2013; Junaidy, et. al., 2015; Sriwarno, 2009). Involvement of rattan furniture producers as the participant is based on our analysis of lack of willingness of the participants to join the training. Therefore, it requires a challenge for rattan furniture producers to be sure that they will have a direct benefit to the training given. In this case, we recommended that the wooden furniture industry manufacturer is involved in the training so that both may exchange skills/expertise and materials that might sustain their production in the future and benefit each other (Abdullah, et. al., 2016). The knowledge that delivered includes the ergonomics of school furniture for elementary school (Afzan, 2012; Rosyidi, 2014).

    1. Rattan-Wooden School Furniture Design

    This workshop reiterated that rattan can revolutionize furniture design through the reduction on the amounts of weight, design form that is organic, and stronger compared to wood furniture. Implementation of new rattan working techniques has been shared throughout the workshop that includes the effective rattan manufacturing process. A highly skilled craftsman was invited to demonstrate the best solution on working with the rattan. We divided theevent of rattan-wooden school furniture design training/workshop into two sessions.

    1. The 4th Workshop of Design ideation to 1:5 model making
      1. Theory of seating facility, ergonomic and anthropometric of school furniture.
      2. Design ideation and development.
      3. 1:5 scale prototyping

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 2.54.48 PM

Figure 1a. Design ideation

 Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 2.55.19 PM

Figure 1b. Design ideation

 Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 2.54.56 PM

Figure 1c. 1:5 scale model making

The 5th workshop of 1:1 prototyping

With complete documents of technical drawing and 1:5 scale model making, we then held a workshop on making the 1:1 prototyping. Here, we introduced the application of some pitriet /pulur /core weaving to some parts of the desk and chair. However, we make sure that there is no rattan bending application in this case. This is to ensure that there would be no extra cost incurred in the process of enhancement. Basically, we removed some structures of the wood and replaced the structure with rattan application of cane structure or weaving. It means that any rattan material application in this enhancement is intended as a substitution, not as an addition. This will maintain the price to be pegged at the same level.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 3.00.24 PM

Figure 2a. Existing product of school furniture set

 Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 3.01.54 PM

Figure 2b. Re-measurement

 Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 3.02.48 PM

Figure 2c. The new model of rattan wicker wooden school furniture design for elementary school (1:1 scaled prototype and 1:5 scaled model).

 Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 3.03.54 PM

Figure 2d. The new model of rattan pole wooden school furniture design for elementary school (1:1 scaled prototype and 1:5 scaled model).

  1. Conclusion

In conducting suitable and effective training programmes, it is hoped that we have assisted the local community that facing critical sustainability of their business. We propose to develop strategies with other parties. These strategies are believed to give impacts directly to the targeted industry. In short, we must create an ecology of interdependency where this might allow the creation of necessity and recognition among the industry, for example, by exchanging skills/expertise and materials. Therefore, the ecology ensures interdependence among industries, as it is the nature of a business.


This project was funded by Knowledge Transfer Programme (KTP) Scheme (2015-2017) entitled “Pembangunan rekabentuk prototaip kerusi rotan ke arah nilai komersial sektor komoditi”.


Abdullah Al Rashid Ab. Hamid., Junaidy, D.W., Nor Hamizah Abdul Hamid, Muhamad Ezran Zainal Abdullah, Mohd Firuz Mohd Anwar, Mohd Firdaus Mohd Herrow. (2016). Rattan Furniture Design-Training Delivery Towards Commercial Value of Commodity Sector. In Abstract of 3rd National Conference on Knowledge Transfer, 30 Nov-1 Dec, 2016, Penang.

Afzan, Z. Z., Hadi, S. A., Shamsul, B. T., Zailina, H., Nada, I., & Rahmah, A. S. (2012, July). Mismatch between school furniture and anthropometric measures among primary school children in Mersing, Johor, Malaysia. In Network of Ergonomics Societies Conference (SEANES), 2012 Southeast Asian (pp. 1-5). IEEE.

Junaidy, D. W., Kaner, J., Ioras, F. and Nagai, Y. (2015) Capturing characteristics of the conceptual ideation process of master craftspersons to inform design education: a comparative study of rural craft practitioners in Indonesia and in the UK, J. Design Research, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp.395–423.

Junaidy, D. W., Nagai, Y., & Ihsan, M. (2013). Craftsmen versus designers: the difference of in-depth cognitive levels at the early stage of idea generation. In ICoRD’13 (pp. 223-234). Springer, India.

Sriwarno, A. B. (2009). Enhancing Local Designers Skill in Rattan Furniture Industries in Cirebon through Comprehensive-Design Approach Regarding Buyers’ Dependencies Prevention. Journal of Visual Art and Design, 3(2), 175-186.

Rosyidi, C. N., Susmartini, S., Purwaningrum, L. L., & Muraki, S. (2014). Mismatch analysis of elementary school desk and chair key characteristics in Indonesia. In Applied Mechanics and Materials (Vol. 660, pp. 1057-1061). Trans Tech Publications.


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