19 May 2024, 09:29
By Paul Farley, reporting from IFFS Mar 10, 2013

Villa Francaise in good company at IFFS Singapore

Singapore's Villa Francaise offers a branded mix of colonial, modern and classic furniture - respectively the W.H. Preston, Linoti and Atelier Monceau brands - manufactured in Indonesia. Similar in feel to the product of Artsome and Halo - "complementary products", according to joint owner/designer Franklin Gharbi (Franklin's partner Luqi Hermawanto Auger is also joint owner) - Villa Francaise's ranges are distributed through similar channels worldwide, and a small amount in the UK.

"It's basically a fashion business for us"

It's Villa Francaise's ninth year at the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS), and an impressive new stand marks the occasion - however, Franklin is looking keenly to other exhibiting opportunities (chiefly Furniture China in Shanghai, at which he exhibited for the first time last year) in order to better engage some of the world's more salubrious buyers. "Selling high-end product is not a problem in China," he says.

Villa's product is heavily influenced by current fashions. "It's basically a fashion business for us," says Franklin, and this philosophy is evident in the company's innovative styles and presentation. Villa Francaise offers a wide range of items, from cabinet pieces and upholstery to accessories and decor - in wood, the company principally works in mahogany, with some oak. Veneers are imported from Germany, while the fabrics originate in China.

The bulk of Villa's customers are small retailers, but the company enjoys partnerships with high profile stockists too, such as China's Casa Pagoda. The company seeks further trade accounts in the UK, but Franklin is aware of the niche appeal his furniture and furnishings are likely to have there.

For now, his product is wowing a good number of buyers at IFFS - and it's a great example of the mix of modern and colonial looks the show is perhaps most famous for.

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