The Furniture Makers announce awards for excellence in British furniture design

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    The Design Guild Mark, now in its sixth year, has become recognised as a major mark for excellence in British Design. The Design Guild Mark, rewards excellence in the design of furniture in volume production. By the award of this Guild Mark for designs which meet The Furniture Makers Company’s criteria, the designers will receive due recognition and the industry will be made more aware of the importance of investment in design. The Design Guild Mark rewards the work of the finest furniture designers working in volume production and the best of British furniture designers working abroad.The judging panel (listed below) had the difficult task of assessing which entries had achieved the now established standard of excellence required from the diverse range of items set out for their inspection.

    The judges were:

    Malaika Byng – Wallpaper
    Jonathan Hindle – KI
    Enrico Caruso – Gensler
    Kate Mason – Cushman & Wakefield
    Barbara Chandler – The Evening Standard
    Olga Polizzi – Rocco Forte Design
    Lee Cheong – University of Portsmouth
    Pernille Stafford – TP Bennett
    Sebastian Conran – Sebastian Conran Associates
    Jason Wilary-Attew – John Lewis
    Nick Hill – Marks & Spencer

    All judges with an interest in an entry stood aside when that entry was being discussed.

    Graham Jones, the present chairman, commented:
    “This year’s judging day was its usual mix of celebration and contention. Every year we find something simple and something delightful that unites the judges in their commendation and helps to explain why the Design Guild Mark is so important.”

    Jonathan Hindle, Founding Chairman of the Design Guild Mark added:
    “I am delighted this prestigious award is going from strength to strength. I am told by many of the leading design studios that they now consider the Design Guild Mark to be the highest accolade for the design of furniture in volume production. This year’s judging was as vigorous as ever with much debate amongst us on each product. The short presentations from each designer in person or via Skype was also very informative. Just over half the entrants were judged as achieving a standard worthy of a Guild Mark.
    I am especially pleased to see many of the designers and manufacturers using the Design Guild Mark Coat of Arms and logo in the promotion of those products.”

    Barbara Chandler, Photographer, design writer for the London Evening Standard, Design Columnist for Homes & Garden and judge commented:
    “This year was a marathon session, with 11 very stalwart judges looking at 41 entries non-stop. It is thrilling for British design that so many designers and companies aspire to hold the Design Guild Mark. Designers gave up their time to offer fascinating expositions of their work. And the gems that won our label made the whole process so worth while.”

    Designers whose entries were awarded Design Guild Marks this year were:
    • Ian Archer – ‘Raffa Chairs’ for Couch Design (DGM 75)
    • Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby – ‘The Sofa Collection’ for
    Knoll International (DGM 76)
    • Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby – ‘Tip Ton’ for Vitra (DGM 77)
    • Samuel Chan – ‘Finnieston Bookcase’ for Channels (DGM 78)
    • Samuel Chan – ‘Finnieston Console Table’ for Channels (DGM 79)
    • Martin Dodge – ‘Radial Table Mechanism’ for Martin Dodge Furniture (DGM 80)
    • Ali Edwards – ‘Navajo’ for John Lewis (DGM 81)
    • Mark Gabbertas – ‘Diabolo’ for Chorus Furniture (DGM 82)
    • Mark Gabbertas – ‘Metro’ for Lyndon Design (DGM 83)
    • Mark Gabbertas – ‘Mir’ for Chorus Furniture (DGM 84)
    • Mark Gabbertas – ‘MirA’ for Chorus Furniture (DGM 85)
    • Dave Green – ‘Rockingham Rocker’ made by Sitting Firm Chairmakers (DGM 86)
    • Terry Hunt – ‘UniteSE SpaceStation’ for KI (DGM 87)
    • James Irvine – ‘Juno’ for Arper (DGM 88)
    • Je-Uk Kim – ‘Credenza O’ for JiB design studio (DGM 89)
    • Roger Webb Associates – ‘WHY Chairs’ for Connection (DGM 90)
    • Steuart Padwick – ‘The Horseshoe Chair’ manufactured by Sitting Firm Distributed by Steuart Padwick (DGM 91)
    • Simon Pengelly – ‘Jonty’ for Chorus Furniture Ltd (DGM 92)
    • Russell Pinch – ‘Holland Park’ Chairs manufactured by Ercol (DGM 93)
    • Wales & Wales – ‘Marylebone Chairs’ for Benchmark (DGM 94)
    • Wills Watson & Associates – ‘Corsair Range’ for WJ White (DGM 95)

    Sebastian Conran, Director of Sebastian Conran Associates
    “The Design Guild Mark is one of the few competitions that I know where the designers of the pieces have the opportunity to explain their designs in person to the judges. Apart from making the judging process all the more interesting it gives the judges a valuable insight into all aspects of the entries, and ensures that the judging process is particularly thorough and fair.”

    Lee Cheong, Lecturer in the School of Architecture, University of Portsmouth commented:
    “A great diversity of entrants shows the recognition the Design Guild Mark has now achieved. Designs showing a good use of materials, obtained from sustainable sources and from a wide set of market applications were all represented. The Design Guild Mark is recognised and seen as promoting excellence.”

    Jason Wilary-Attew, Head of Furniture buying for John Lewis added:
    “I really enjoyed the judging this year, and thought, as ever, there were some really interesting and innovative products submitted. The standard continues to be high, and after some lively debate I believe we have a great selection of product this year. It was good to see a mix across domestic and commercial product too.”

    Kate Mason, Associate Head of Interior Design, Project Management & Consultancy for Cushman & Wakefield commented:
    “The Design Guild Mark is a prestigious platform for designers of all reaches to showcase their talents and earn recognition in their field. The standard this year was supremely high and the products quite mixed. Overall it was an exciting look into the rising trends and future direction in which our designers are heading.”

    Nick Hill, Head of Innovation and Quality at Marks and Spencer:
    “The Design Guild Mark allows designers to get acknowledgement and recognition from a broad cross section of the UK furniture industry. A great opportunity to showcase the best of furniture designs created in Britain.”

    Enrico Caruso, Principal at Gensler:
    “It was a privilege to have been asked for the second time to join the judging panel for this year’s Design Guild Mark Awards for the Furniture Makers’ Company. The program provides a wide playing field in which independent designer-makers and established commercial manufacturers alike may put their best products forward for equal consideration in the competition. This year was no exception. The one common element in each product reviewed was quality with a focus on great design.”

    Pernille Stafford, Director at TP Bennett:
    “This year’s Design Guild Mark was truly exceptional, with a number of both progressive and inventive pieces. The standard was again very high, a selection of pieces representing cutting edge technology and design. Aesthetically a broad church of submissions which makes the Design Guild Mark such a privilege to be involved in.”

    Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairman & Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels:
    “We deliberate very carefully before deciding to give the Design Guild Mark to an item of furniture; it is not an easy accolade to win.”

    Malaika Byng, Editor of
    “The latest troop of Design Guild Mark winners paint a very positive portrait of British design – one in which skilled craftsmanship, innovative thinking and problem solving are pushed to the fore.”

    The Furniture Makers Company is very grateful to John Lewis, for sponsoring the development of the Design Guild Mark and to Marks & Spencer for its support of the Design Guild Mark by making both its facilities and its staff available for the judging process.

    The Design Guild Mark are having an exclusive feature stand showing awarded products at 100% Design, 18th – 21st September at Earls Court. For further information visit:

    Daniel Fountain / 07.05.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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