• Building Beyond Tomorrow: The architecture industry’s rapid digital transformation is helping practitioners meet customers’ demands in extraordinary times

    19 October 2021

    (7 October 2021, Kuala Lumpur) Over the past year or so, people around the world have adjusted to disruptions that have irreversibly changed the way we live, work and play. For the architecture, interior design and building industries, which are so embedded in the physical realm, this has meant making a radical shift into digitalisation. Virtual.

    Having established itself as being at the forefront of change and the conduit for engagement, the International Architecture, Interior Design & Building Exhibition (ARCHIDEX) – Asia’s Leading Architecture Business Event and Malaysia’s most established trade exhibition for the architecture, interior design and building industry, launched ARCHIDEX Online, an immersive virtual platform built upon ARCHIDEX’s 21 years of strong physical presence.

    The platform was soft launched on Monday, 4 October 2021, in conjunction with World Architecture Day. It featured Malaysia’s leading voices of the industry in a roundtable forum themed The Industry Outlook Ahead. Moving forward, industry practitioners and suppliers can expect 67 days (from 4 October to 10 December 2021) of online activities tailored to seamlessly connect local and international exhibitors with industry professionals, specifiers and trade buyers.  

    During the inaugural virtual roundtable forum, five distinguished panellists from the industry discussed the role of architecture in a digitalised world, how the industry has evolved to meet the changing needs of society, and utilisation of new technologies to form connections both online and offline.

    Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) President Datuk Ar. Ezumi Harzani spoke on how the architecture industry has evolved to meet new challenges head by embracing innovative technologies for brand new opportunities.

    “Many PAM members have adopted digital technologies that widen the opportunity for cross discipline collaborations; building stronger teams with hybrid environments converging different skill sets that go beyond conventional setups. Some members remain resilient by expanding their work base to new areas such as Industrialised Building System (IBS) design, Building Information Modelling (BIM) coordination, and Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) visualisation to reach out to a wider client base,” said Datuk Ar. Ezumi.

    Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival (KLAF) Director Ar. Dr Tan Loke Mun, detailed how industry practitioners are able to benefit from digitalisation and online platforms, such as ARCHIDEX Online.

    “During the total lockdown period, we instituted a compulsory weekly online meeting for all architects and technical staff to meet selected suppliers for product discussions. These sessions were informative and impactful, and gave our staff a chance to connect with the key people of these companies. Today, we need fast, smart, and succinct responsiveness; and the ARCHIDEX Online platform, drawing on ARCHIDEX’s strength of connecting people, is providing this responsiveness for the industry,” said Ar. Dr Tan.

    International Union of Architects (UIA) Secretary General Datuk Ar. Tan Pei Ing said that the world has changed for architects over the past 18 months since global restrictions were set in place.

    “Although we lost ability to interact physically, the migration to the digital and virtual platform has, to a certain degree, made our events more inclusive and allowed for a lot more participation. However, we cannot enjoy physical social interaction, which fosters more intimate exchange and fellowship. We should take this opportunity to really transform and reinvent so we have a new normal that’s a bit more progressive, and a hybrid system is the way to go,” said Datuk Ar. Tan.

    President of C.I.S and the Asian Federation of Exhibition and Convention Associations (AFECA), Dato’ Vincent Lim emphasised for industry practitioners and suppliers to embrace technology with the support of physical events to remain competitive in regional and global marketplaces.

    “For businesses to thrive, the way to go forward is to fully dive deep into the digital sphere and this is an optimum time to do it. While there is a massive opportunity for growth in a borderless world where conversations and connectivity are literally within our fingertips, there is still the need for physical events for exhibitors and visitors, for example to connect and build relationships through meetings and other activities onsite, to get to meet and greet people as well as to see, touch and feel the exhibits, products, and materials,” said Dato’ Lim.

    Malaysia External Trade Development Corporate (MATRADE) Manager (Construction & Business Services Section and Export Promotion & Market Access Division) Encik Mohd Saiful Arifin Rostam was confident that ARCHIDEX Online can build and bridge connections between vendors, suppliers, and buyers across international borders.

    “To overcome travel restrictions, businesses should adopt new approaches in promoting their products and services. This is why MATRADE and C.I.S continue to collaborate on the International Sourcing Programme (INSP), in conjunction with ARCHIDEX, which enables Malaysian sellers to be matched with potential foreign buyers on a virtual platform,” said Encik Mohd Saiful.

    ARCHIDEX 2021, an event of the annual KL Architecture Festival (KLAF), will be held across 4 days, from 3 to 6 November 2021, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Together with ARCHIDEX Online, this year’s edition presents as a hybrid exhibition, bringing together strategic and concurrently held international architecture events, including conferences, forums, trade talks, webinars, industry meetings, business matching, networking opportunities, and awards.

    For more information, please visit archidex.com.my.


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