Around 1,000 people came out to meet the future of design at the 2019 Young Furniture Makers exhibition, in what proved to be the event’s most successful edition to date.

The Young Furniture Makers exhibition was set up by The Furniture Makers’ Company more than 10 years ago for school children, students and graduates to showcase their work to the design community and connect with potential employers.

Around 150 of the UK’s freshest designers exhibited cutting edge furniture and lighting for one day only (Wednesday 9 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, Blum, Celtheath Contract Furniture, the January Furniture Show and The Furniture Ombudsman.

The exhibition opened at 12.00pm 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 7.00pm.

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 awards.

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
  • Blum Best in Show Prize: Huw Evans for the Concertina Collection

Ten outstanding pieces were also selected to be included in a special room set installation at the 2020 January Furniture Show (19-22 January, NEC Birmingham), giving the winners the opportunity to have their work viewed by 22,000+ visitors and the opportunity to build high level contacts.

Dids Macdonald OBE, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, said: “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, guest of honour, said: “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, said: “The show presented a wonderful picture of the creativity and talent of the next generation of furniture makers. 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, said: “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 said: “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.”


Notes to editors

About The Furniture Makers’ Company

The Furniture Makers’ Company is the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry. It fosters the industry by supporting those in need, nurturing skills and expertise and inspiring excellence. It provides support and assistance to those in need who are working or have worked in the UK furnishing industry. It supports students and young people with grants, training and mentoring in order to foster talent and safeguard the future of the industry. It encourages the highest standards and best practice in the design, making, marketing and selling of all kinds of furniture and furnishings throughout the UK, recognising quality through the award of its Guild Marks and Awards.

For further information, contact George Cooper, or 020 7562 8522.

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