The Young Furniture Makers exhibition, our special one-day event showcasing furniture, lighting and textile designs from emerging designer-makers to employers and key players in the furnishing industry, returns to the City of London this October.

The event, which is principally sponsored by Tizo and co-sponsored by Axminster Tools, Celtheath and NaughtOne, will take place on Wednesday 11 October at Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church in Austin Friars, London.  

In the run-up to the exhibition, we’ll be meeting some of this year’s exhibitors who are looking forward to meeting our members and people from industry.

YFM exhibitor - Gigi Cooke

Name: Gigi Cooke

Piece: Archie

Tell us about the product you’re exhibiting. What’s the story behind it?

Archie’s story begins with a project brief focused on creating a versatile furniture design for compact living spaces in the domestic furniture market. The aim was to utilise local timber and prioritise sustainability, considering the low environmental impact. This led to the birth of Archie, a contemporary furniture piece that seamlessly transforms from a stool to a coffee table and side table.

Archie is driven by a passion for the design process, Archie celebrates the reworking of the tongue and groove joint. This celebration encompasses not only the functional aspects of the joint but also the aesthetic beauty it brings to the overall design. By showcasing the distinct local timbers of Oak and Ash, Archie highlights the individuality of these materials, emphasising their diverse grains and unique characteristics.

What was the most challenging part of bringing Archie to life?

The most challenging part of bringing Archie to life was taking all my research, test joints, sketches and models, and committing to the ultimate design and generate the cutting list—an irreversible step that demanded unwavering faith in the creative process.

What do you hope to get out of being part of the Young Furniture Makers exhibition?

I hope to meet people in the industry and connect with people who have a passion for design and making. I also know I will be inspired by other shortlisted designers, to progress and take my Archie collection further.

Who is your design hero and why?

The design studio who inspires me the most is Muller van Severn. The playful studio is driven by material and I can relate to this as this is often my starting point for my design. Muller van severn pushes the processing of a material to push the boundaries and play with material properties and form which I hope to take this forward into my own practise.

What are your career aspirations? 

In my career I aspire to be bouncing back and forth from the workshop to my desk playing with ideas and bringing them to the market with a multi disciplinary team, whilst owning my own business.

Which company would you love to work for one day?

While ultimately aspire to be self-employed, I would love to and hopefully collaborate or working for a company like Benchmark or Sebastian Cox. Their innovative approaches and dedication to sustainability and craftsmanship strongly resonates with me and my own principles.

How do you think you’d react if you won a Young Furniture Makers Award?

I would be blown away!!! This year has been crazy and during this project it was hard to see where I was going and to even be invited to showcase my work is mind blowing. If I was to win the award I would be speechless and grateful for people understanding my ideas and believing in it.

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