Hundreds of people turned out to visit The Furniture Makers’ Company’s largest ever Young Furniture Makers exhibition earlier this month. 

A record-breaking 120 pieces from GCSE and A Level students through to BA and MA graduates from around the UK packed out the Dutch Church and Furniture Makers’ Hall in Austin Friars, London on Tuesday 10th October. 

Sponsored by Axminster Tools & Machinery, Blue Crush Communications and The Furniture Ombudsman, the Young Furniture Makers exhibition was set up over 10 years ago for students to display their work, meet potential employers and gain advice. 

Dr Tony Smart MBE, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, officially welcomed guests from across the furnishing and design sector at 6.30pm before guest of honour Sebastian Conran, CEO of Sebastian Conran Associates, presented the awards. 

  •  The Young Furniture Makers Bespoke Award, sponsored by Festool, was awarded to Freya Whamond for her Bud Chair 
  •  The Young Furniture Makers Design Award, sponsored by Crofts & Assinder, was awarded to Charlotte Lloyd for the Giddy Up Chair 
  •  The Young Furniture Makers Innovation Award, sponsored by Knightsbridge, was awarded to Joe Parker for his Folding Chair 
  •  The KI National School Prize was awarded to George Mannell and Saskia Hawkins 
  •  The DFS Poster Design Competition was awarded to James Grainger at Saint Ambrose College 
  •  The Blum Best in Show Prize (higher education) was awarded to Edward Kucewicz 
  •  The Blum Best in Show Prize (further education) was awarded to Charlotte Lloyd 

Alex Crofts, Young Furniture Makers chairman, says: “The 2017 Young Furniture Makers exhibition was our biggest yet and proved to be a wonderful celebration showcasing the exceptional young design talent that we have in the UK. I want to say a big thank you to all of our sponsors that helped make the show possible and special thanks to Sebastian Conran for coming to present the awards.” 

Sebastian Conran, CEO of Sebastian Conran Associates, says: “I found the student work exceptionally fresh and inspiring, exhibiting extremely high standards of imagination, discernment and craft normally associated with the output of people with many more years of professional experience and expertise.” 

Alan Styles, MD of main sponsor Axminster Tools & Machinery, says: "On behalf of Axminster I would like to say how delighted and proud we are to support such a well-attended and well organised event hosted by The Furniture Makers’ Company. The quality of the design and work is an outstanding tribute to all the colleges and students involved. This will without doubt inspire students thinking of enrolling on furniture design and build courses, and help to highlight the future of the furniture industry." 

Charlotte Lloyd, winner of the Design Award and Blum Best in Show Prize (further education), says: "I'm ecstatic to have won both the Design Award and Blum Best in Show Prize. The competition allowed me to combine my textiles design and upholstery skills into one brief, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable journey. I'm hugely grateful to the Upholstery Skills Centre for my exceptional training and The Furniture Makers’ Company for hosting this wonderful event.”