Fourteen local timber based companies took centre stage on Friday, showcasing a diverse array of quality handcrafted wood products during the second Brunei Darussalam Timber Products Expo which was held at the OneCity Shopping Centre.
The three-day event was organised by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) through the Forestry Department in conjunction with this year’s International Day of Forests which carries the theme, ‘Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption’.
In her welcoming remarks, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary and Director of Forestry, Noralinda Hj Ibrahim highlighted the significant role that forests play in our day-to-day lives, particularly as a source of timber for necessary wood products such as furniture and building materials.
“Additionally, the Forestry Department plays an important role in ensuring the viability of the country’s timber industry by maintaining sustainable forest management practices such as monitoring the harvesting of forest products in accordance with established guidelines as well as replanting and rehabilitating forests,” she added.
The Brunei Darussalam Timber Products Expo is also meant to create more exposure for local timber-based companies, Noralinda continued, which include not only timber manufacturers but the downstream timber industry as well.
“It is hoped, such an exhibition will be able to attract more people to buy local timber products placing them as a top choice in decorative art as well as interior decorations of people’s homes,” she went on to say.
Alongside the exhibition, a furniture design competition was also held as a means to encourage the production of wooden furniture that is well-received by the local market that can compete at the international level.
The competition was divided into two categories; Category A required competitors to design a set of bedroom furniture consisting of a bed, a side table and a dressing table with chairs.
This category was open to timber manufacturing companies and downstream timber companies registered under the Forestry Department.
Meanwhile, Category B required the competitors to design a chest drawer and was open to local youth entrepreneurs.
Category A was won by Syarikat Kilang Papan Batang Mitus Sdn Bhd, with a bedroom furniture set made entirely of Sepetir, a hardwood species local to Brunei Darussalam.
Director of the company, Jennifer Loo said that it initially took them some time to choose a design, noting how limited bedroom furniture designs can be, especially within the parameters of the competition which highlighted market accessibility.
They eventually settled on a minimalist design, taking some inspiration from modern European style furniture but with an added emphasis towards the wood material to highlight its natural grain pattern which according to Loo is unlike any other wood species.
“(Through the competition) I wanted to show people the kinds of wood species we have in Brunei and I think Sepetir is one of the nice ones because the grain pattern is like no other,” she added.
Category B was won by 41-year-old Badaruddin Bahar from Home Bn Pallet with his Cedarwood chest drawer.
Badaruddin, who is the Founder of Home Bn Pallet which specialises in custom furniture, said that his design also emphasised the material being used, noting that as solid wood, the Cedarwood chest drawer is durable and could stand the test of time.
Speaking in regards to the exhibition, Badaruddin said that it was his second time joining the Brunei Darussalam Timber Products Expo. He lauded the event for allowing small timber-based companies like his to reach a wider audience.
“Not a lot of Bruneians are aware that there are local downstream timber companies that can provide good quality products that are on par with those from outside. With expos like this one, we hope that will change as we move ahead,” he added.
Attending as the Guest of Honour was Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Paduka Dr. Hj Abdul Manaf Hj Metussin. The Brunei Darussalam Timber Products Expo 2022 is held until Sunday July 3 at the OneCity Shopping Centre.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN