CEPT stimulates entrepreneurship with furniture design course

As IKEA all over the world rush to enter the Indian furniture market, there seems to be a growing trend for professional courses targeting furniture design, manufacture and marketing.

Taking a step in this direction, the University of the City’s Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) has launched a graduate program in furniture design under the Faculty of Design.

The two-year Master in Design – Furniture Design is a skills-based program focused on commercially viable furniture designs to produce and compete with global giants.

“The main feature of the course is that it draws on scientific parameters such as ergonomics, structural behavior, load transfer, materials science, among others,” said Krishna Shastri, professor and dean of the design faculty.

Famous Irish designer Arthur Daff will be the zone chair for the course while other faculties would include furniture industry experts in addition to academics.

Other institutes that offer specialized courses in furniture design include the National Institute of Design (NID), Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune, and Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, Bangalore.

However, CEPT has created its niche by focusing more on the scientific aspect of furniture than just the design aspect. “It provides students with a broader view to understand the surrounding environment where furniture is to be placed. Factors such as living environment, business environment, institutional environment will be taken into account,” Shastri said.

She further mentioned that in the future, the faculty seeks to become an incubation center for entrepreneurs who plan to venture into the furniture industry, thus providing a platform to develop their designs.

Over 300,000 people are employed in the furniture industry, valued at over US $ 8 billion. However, it only contributes 0.5 percent of India’s GDP compared to China’s 20 percent. The very poorly organized furniture industry has only 15 percent of players in the organized sector. The most important segment is wooden household furniture, which is experiencing the most rapid growth. States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala are some of the key states for wood furniture.

“India is one of the biggest importers of furniture. Our own entrepreneurs are unable to capture this potential of the internal market. Therefore, this course will help them make high quality furniture, ”explained Shastri. The deadline for applications is June 30 and the program is expected to start July 20 with a batch of around 18-20 students.

Some of the organized players in the furniture industry include Nilkamal, BP Ergo, Featherlite, Style Spa, Durian, Renaissance, Zuari, among others. In 2013, IKEA, the leading Swedish furniture maker, was granted permission to establish single-brand home furnishings retail stores in India with an investment of Rs 10,500 crore.

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