The Young Furniture Makers exhibition, organised by The Furniture Makers’ Company, returned earlier this month following a three-year hiatus, with 100 of the UK’s emerging designers and makers exhibiting their furniture and lighting designs in the City of London to a packed-out crowd.
The Young Furniture Makers exhibition was set up by The Furniture Makers’ Company over 15 years ago for schoolchildren, students and graduates to showcase their work to the design community and connect with potential employers. This year’s event was the first live exhibition since 2019, and took place on Wednesday 12th October at Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church in Austin Friars, London.
Students and graduates travelled from across the UK to be part of event, with the youngest exhibitor being 12 years old, the oldest 59, and one exhibitor returning from Switzerland to be part of this celebration of furniture and furnishing design.
Sponsored and supported by Axminster Tools, Sanderson Design Group and the January Furniture Show, the exhibition opened at 3pm with visitors quickly filling the two venues to see the designs on show. In addition to the furniture and lighting on display, guests and exhibitors were treated to three short seminars that formed a Talks Programme.
The anticipation built throughout the day, with the event culminating with a drinks reception, sponsored by HIX, and the announcement of the Young Furniture Makers Awards. Hundreds of people filled the Dutch Church to hear which pieces had been named top of their category, with special guest William Hardie, the founder of Studio Hardie, announcing this year’s winners.
The winners of the awards were: National School Design Prize – Jim Notcutt for Chair; Young Furniture Makers Bespoke Award, sponsored by Axminster Tools – Clare Ng for the Gemini Cabinet; Young Furniture Makers Design Award – Jack Briggs for Wave; Young Furniture Makers Textiles Award, sponsored by Sanderson Design Group – Krav Metcalfe for the Cochise Chair; and the Best in Show Prize, sponsored by Blum – Jack Briggs for Wave.
Eight pieces were also selected to be part of a special feature at the 2023 January Furniture Show.
Tony Attard OBE DL, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The Young Furniture Makers exhibition was an absolute triumph - it made me very proud to be master of The Furniture Makers’ Company. The exhibition demonstrates how we make a difference in the most tangible way to students and graduates. I am sure that many of the designers who exhibited will be inspired to pursue a career in the furnishing industry.”
William Hardie comments: “I was astounded by the calibre of craftsmanship and quality of design shown at the Young Furniture Makers exhibition. It is so inspiring to see that children as young as 12 are designing and making beautiful and well-thought-out pieces. The exhibition was a brilliant chance for young makers to show and present their work to industry leaders and the public at a prestigious venue. The result was over 100 remarkable and diverse pieces of furniture, demonstrating that the future of the furnituremaking industry looks very bright.”
Zoe Bonser, portfolio director at Clarion Retail, organiser of the January Furniture Show, adds: “‘Myself and the team at the January Furniture Show were delighted to be a part of the 2022 Young Furniture Makers exhibition. It was such a special event, which brought together new and emerging talent in a beautiful setting. The designs showcased were exceptional and it was so lovely to be able to meet with and celebrate all the students’ hard work. We are very much looking forward to hosting this year’s winners at our next event in January and helping to showcase all the incredible designers to the entire furniture industry."
Pictured: the winners of the January Furniture Show prize (Hannah Richards for the Metamorphosis Stool, Philippa Bourne for the Rest the Mind Sideboard, Sam Attard for the 1988 Sideboard, Luke Harrison for Yasuko (record storage unit), Lydia Huntington for the Amuse Chair, William Bevis for Benchmark, Isabel Rough for Snoopy, and Katie FitzJohn for the Salvaged Vintage Embroidery Chair