Around 1000 people attended this year's Young Furniture Makers exhibition, making it the most successful edition to date.
The Young Furniture Makers exhibition was set up by The Furniture Makers’ Company more than 10 years ago to enable schoolchildren, students and graduates to present their work to the design community and potential employers.
Around 150 designers exhibited furniture and lighting on Wednesday 9th October at Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church in Austin Friars, London.
The event was sponsored by Axminster Tools & Machinery and supported by Anti Copying in Design (ACID), Blum, Celtheath Contract Furniture, the January Furniture Show and The Furniture Ombudsman.
The exhibition opened at 12pm with visitors filling the two venues to see this year’s talent. Alex Crofts, training and education chairman at The Furniture Makers’ Company, and Dids Macdonald OBE, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, welcomed guests at 7pm. The evening concluded with the annual Young Furniture Makers Awards ceremony, which recognises and rewards the creativity of the exhibitors, with special guest furniture designer-maker Sebastian Cox presenting.
The winners of the awards were: Young Furniture Makers Bespoke Award – Matthew Hensby for the Kent Stick Chair; Young Furniture Makers Design Award – Nina Naveršnik for the Lucy Light; Young Furniture Makers Innovation Award – Huw Evans for the Concertina Collection; National School Design Prize – Millie Harper for the Egg Cot; and Blum Best in Show Prize – Huw Evans for the Concertina Collection.
Ten pieces were also selected to be included in a special installation at the 2020 January Furniture Show (19th-22nd January, NEC Birmingham).
Dids Macdonald says: “Each year, The Young Furniture Makers exhibition surpasses design standards through excellence, and this year’s event was no exception. New designers had a unique opportunity to access and speak to key influencers within the sector in one-to-one dialogue and there was a tangible buzz and excitement. For new designers, Furniture Makers’ Hall is fast becoming the ‘it place’ for networking and connecting with other young, creative designer-makers who are looking to make an impact on the sector.”
Sebastian Cox says: "The Young Furniture Makers exhibition is an important platform for designer-makers at the start of their career. The exhibition provided a great opportunity for these incredibly talented makers to demonstrate their passion to key people within the UK design community. It was a real pleasure to see the exhibitors’ work, hear their enthusiasm and reward some truly outstanding designs.”
Paul von der Heyde, chairman at exhibition sponsor Axminster Tools & Machinery, comments: “The show presented a wonderful picture of the creativity and talent of the next generation of furnituremakers. The enormous attendance and energy at the awards session was inspirational. It was a thrill to be associated with such a vibrant and inspiring event.”
Cleere Scamell, January Furniture Show event director, comments: “The Young Furniture Makers exhibition was a huge inspiration this year, as always, and we are proud that the January Furniture Show could be a part of it for the first time. Supporting such an important event for emerging talent is a way for the show to give back, and to help champion those who will form the future of our industry.”
Award winner Huw Evans concludes: “I want to say a huge thank you to The Furniture Makers’ Company for granting me the opportunity to exhibit alongside such a pool of talent. I’m honoured to have received such a positive response from both my peers and the visitors at the exhibition. It’s always exciting meeting individuals who are already established within the industry.”