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The situation in Latvian furniture industry. January 7, 2009

Posted by ieva in Uncategorized.
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Here is some more information from the research of Elina Busmane about the situation in Latvian furniture industry. She investigated two Latvian furniture companies- Chair Baltic and Nakts Mebeles. Here are the (sad) conclusions about the situation.


• Needs of the real consumer are not taken in serious consideration developing new products and services. In main cases the manager of the factory is defining a product aiming direct market. Products are similar to middle class products in Baltic region or are imitating recent tendencies from largest European furniture fairs.
• There is a lack of any innovations and uniqness in new products, lack of research.
• The work organization inside of companies is unefectively organized. Lack of collaboration with designers. No real communication between the designer and structures of the company (marketing, export, technology).
• Lack of on-line services. Products mainly are distributed in salons, where furniture is on display, The staff is not always enough professional to give needed advices.
• Lack of feedback services. There is no information that companies provide repair or recycling furniture they produce.
• Even if the government has established several structures and organizations for increasing effectiveness in this industry entrepreneurs are not motivated to use their possibilities for development because of the tremendous bureaucracy.
• During last year’s companies’ success was based on lower material and labor costs, but in recent economic situation these causes are not working.
• There is lack of understanding about industry’s impact to the environment; therefore producers are not motivated to join Certificating Environmental Management Systems

The existent furniture industry in Latvia produces middle class products, which where competitive because of lower costs of labor and materials. According to recent economical situation these causes are not working.

Frame chair by Komplot Design (Denmark) for Chair Baltic.

Bed Mara by Mara Skujeniece (LV/NL) for Nakts Mebeles (a positive example!)


Furniture has close relations with consumer. It is the main tool for creating environment where people spend their lives. Furniture often is based on trends & technical possibilities, but individual needs are often secondary. There is a need for changes what leads business towards real needs of customer.

Latvia is a country that always has been in political, economical and cultural crossroads. The ethnicity of the population (Latvians 60%; Russian 30%) makes the situation more diverse. Therefore this is can be a place where business based on individual needs has a potential.

Thank you, Elina!



1. Rihards - January 7, 2009

Wood industry is one of the biggest industries in Latvia. Wood is the almost only inland resource inside the Latvia (45% of Latvia territory). That should be the good precondition for growth of furniture industries too…
if we could find the way how to link those 2 industries in Latvia, we could start to use our main resource (wood) in the smartest way to get most effective results.

2. balticdesign - January 7, 2009

True! I’m waiting for that day..

3. Rihards - January 8, 2009

but maybe furniture industry is the past…
material world is losing sense
for example designers in Japan working on virtual environment solutions

4. balticdesign - January 8, 2009

Sure, the things around us are becoming more and more immaterial. There will be projected keyboards etc. But I doubt that we will sleep in a virtual bed one day ;).

5. Rihards - January 8, 2009

that will happen sooner as you can imagine

6. balticdesign - January 8, 2009

MMmm, I’m not so sure. How do you imagine this? Then your body will also be immaterial?!?

7. Rihards - January 8, 2009

that already works on spaceships

8. balticdesign - January 8, 2009

Ja, but there’s no gravitation there!

9. Rihards - January 8, 2009

so what?
did you forget about the experiment with black hole in short past?

10. balticdesign - January 8, 2009

Mmm, then there should be some huge catastophe on the Earth (withc, I hope won’t happen).
Anyway, I want to keep my bed even in virtual era (:.

11. Rihards - January 8, 2009

yes, horizontal position is ideal for human circulation of blood, but i would like to try some other ways of sleeping with great pleasure.

12. balticdesign - January 9, 2009

Just to try.. for sure! (:

13. elina busmane - January 12, 2009

Immaterial solutions…that sounds so promising.
As a person I am optimist (even if my thoughts about LV furniture industry doesn’t express that ).
In Latvia there is still a problem for industries to understand that designer is needed. And how far is understanding about immaterial designs and sustainable solutions?
Can we do a revolution?

14. Rihards - January 12, 2009

If we want we could do almost all.

15. balticdesign - January 12, 2009

It’s true. But for a revolution we have to collaborate between us.

16. elina busmane - January 12, 2009

For sure! Vienotībā ir spēks!

17. kuuna - January 14, 2009

Great job, Elina! What does manufacturers themselves say about it? Have they seen it?

By the way – I would not agree that we have to use more of our woodland resources now to boost the furniture industry. Without planning it would be disaster – considering the slow renewing of this resource as well as the cleaniness of air woods provide. Latvia, by the way, is doing pretty well in terms of co2 emmissions. I would suspect it has a lot to do with the main co2 consumers – woods 😉
But adding value by design to a furniture industry is a primary option, of course.

18. elina busmane - January 14, 2009

Latvian manufacturers haven’t seen my job.
I would like to discuss that face to face, but now I am just away from Latvia.
I believe that future of Latvian furniture industry is not to produce more (in terms of material amounts), but to produce smart & more service – orientated. Actually life of furniture just starts when it arrives to home/office of customer. But during the exploitation there are still needs of services producers could provide.
And that also apply to ecology. Less consumed natural resources. It would be nice, that our kids, probably inhabitants of Latvia, still have a possibility to experience sils and vēris.

19. Rihards - January 15, 2009

smart using of main Latvia resource – wood will not promote the ecological crisis. If we will leave the material (wood) in side of Latvia for longer time we could really worm up economic with escort of material through several industries (for example chemistry, science, design, manufacturing e.t.c.). The final product obligatory is not furniture.
I appeal to think about how to care and how to use main resource in best and more effective way.

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