The Furniture Awards returns to the January Furniture Show in 2016 to highlight the best new products launched at the event.

The awards programme, created by Furniture News magazine in partnership with the show’s organiser, sees shortlisted entries assessed by a team of expert judges from the domestic furniture industry, before recognising three best-in-class launches across various price points.

The judging panel for the 2016 edition comprises: Maxim Romain, general manager for Wayfair Europe; visual merchandising consultant Andrew Durham; ACID CEO and co-founder Dids Macdonald OBE; and Malcolm Walker, director of buying for Furniture Village.

Ahead of the new edition, sponsored by bed specialist Dreams, Furniture News presents an opportunity to meet one of the judges …

Andrew Durham – visual merchandising consultant, ALD Design & Display

Andrew offers buying, photography styling, space planning and creative design services to the furniture and interiors industry. His business, ALD Design & Display, is based in London, and boasts a client list which includes Arighi Bianchi, Fishpools and Caseys.

“I developed this niche after working for Barker & Stonehouse as their display manager in Teesside, successfully opening new stores and refurbishing their existing ones,” says Andrew. “The bulk of my 25-plus years of retail experience was in London, though, where I enjoyed working for various top-end stores including Harrods, Heal’s, GTC and Ralph Lauren as a key member of their creative display teams.

“This was a long way from the start of my career, when, after leaving art college, I became a window dresser for Lewis’s department store in my home town of Bolton.”

“With the use of the internet becoming stronger every day, retailers need to provide the ‘theatre’ within their stores that will inspire their customers to buy into a whole lifestyle”

“My area of expertise is working with furniture retailers who want to create a more exciting and aspirational shopping experience for their customers. With the use of the internet becoming stronger every day, retailers need to provide the ‘theatre’ within their stores that will inspire their customers to buy into a whole lifestyle.

“One of my key skills is taking a furniture product and creating an environment for it so that it achieves greater sales. This is done by co-ordinating it with other furniture, accessories, lighting and decor to produce a look that the customer will want to buy into. This is a process that moves at a much faster pace now, as retailers continually try to bring in fresh product throughout the year to stimulate sales and create the wow factor that the customer demands.”  

The Furniture Awards recognise the best new product unveiled at the January Furniture Show, across a range of price points. A team of judges from the world of furniture retail will assess the creative and commercial value of the shortlisted entries before highlighting those considered best in class before the entire industry. Open to January Furniture Show exhibitors only, the awards' deadline is Friday 11th December 2015 – visit the awards web page to enter.