| Universiti Putra Malaysia

Reinventing Furniture with Batik and Songket

By Azman Zakaria

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 March - Batik and Songket, Malaysia’s traditional cultural heritage, have been given a new lease of life as they continue to play a vital role in the daily lives of the society.

This includes the reinvention of their applications such as in contemporary or modern furniture.

A group of lecturers and students of the Faculty of Design and Architecture (FRSB) in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) have designed unique furniture which uses both batik and songket as motifs.


These creative and innovative ideas have brought forth 12 products which include side table, table lamp, wall deco, armchair, stool, lazy chair, cushion, Siya club chair and table.

These products were displayed in the Export Furniture Exhibition (EFE) 2018 in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) recently.

The group of lecturers and students from FRSB unveiled the concept of ‘Contemporary Aesthetic Inspiration Neo-Living’ (KAIN), which showcased a collection of furniture designs which engaged in the cultural values of modern living.

The concept of KAIN represents a unique way of expressing beauty and is inspired by Malaysian Batik and Songket which are then translated and incorporated into the furniture.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nazlina Shaari, a senior lecturer of the Department of Industrial Design, FRSB, said that the team believed that the concept of KAIN which was influenced by batik and songket can be applied in the manufacturing industry of both contemporary and modern furniture.

She further added that, “All the batik and songket inspired products are not only applied in the form of fabric or furniture but also as motifs which are applied in the designing and building of the furniture.”

For instance, side tables are made from wood and then attached to wooden plank surfaces which have both batik and songket motifs.

While the wall deco used songket motif made from ‘Photo Etching’ Technique on

copper plates, the stool used the ‘Eight Petal Flower’ Concept and the table and

lamp used the ‘Borchade’ Concept.

‘Gong’ Concept lazy chairs, have seats made from wood and rags are placed at the centre in between the wooden layers of the seats which will also help in the recycling of the rags. Next, the seats are wrapped with beautiful batik designed cushions.

The elegant designs of batik and songket are also employed on table lamps known as the ‘Malay Metaphor Batik’ Lamp which combines batik designs made from various Malay poetries such as, ‘Bagai aur dengan tebing,’, ‘Kalau takut dilambung ombak, jangan berumáh di tepi pantai’ and etc.

Other interesting products are the ‘Siya’ Concept portable chairs and tables. They are easily disassembled, placed in vehicles and could be moved anywhere. The tables are also attached with drawers which are used to keep things.

‘The Galactic Warrior’ Concept floor lamps which used ‘Batik Block’ Technique were inspired from the characters of ‘Star Wars’ and they also used Pua/Kumbu cloth elements.

Finally, UPM’s booth won the 1st runner up in the ‘Best Booth Design-Shell Scheme’ Category in the recent EFE, and a sum of RM2,000 cash price and a plaque were presented to the winners by Mr. Chua Chun Chai, the President of the Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC)– UPM