The Furniture Makers’ Company recently hosted its annual Young Furniture Makers exhibition, sponsored by Corporate Member, Axminster Tools & Machinery. There were exhibits from students at all levels, from the numerous colleges and universities the Furniture Makers support. Also on show was work from school children who won the DFS Poster Competition and the Proskills/MakeIT Competition.

Winners: Connor Holland and Jan Waterston with Peter Sharratt of Blum
Winners: Connor Holland and Jan Waterston with Peter Sharratt of Blum

Attending the exhibition, Sales Director Alan Styles said: "We at Axminster Tools & Machinery are always keen to support educational organisations and events. Exhibitions such as this are important in recognising and rewarding the efforts of students who are vital to the existence and continuation of our industry. As a company and corporate member, we are delighted to support the Young Furniture Makers and the Furniture Makers Company in the valuable work the organisation carries out."

This year two new awards were introduced: the Young Furniture Makers Bespoke Award, won by Connor Holland and sponsored by Festool, and the Young Furniture Makers Design Award, won by Christa Sylvana Tjong and sponsored by Gabbertas Studio and Crofts & Assinder.

Awards were also made for numerous industry partnerships, where companies such as Crofts & Assinder, Ercol, Hands, Gordon Russell and Willis & Gambier worked with university students on specific projects.

The Best in Show Prize, sponsored by Corporate Member Blum, went to two young designers, Connor Holland and Jan Waterston, who won all expenses paid trips to Blum’s state-of-the-art factory in Austria for having the best exhibits in the show – Connor for his YFM Bespoke award-winning Lilo Bench, and Jan for his amazing Velo Chair, which gained second place in the YFM Design Award.

Blum specialises in lift, hinge and pull-out systems for furniture, predominantly in kitchens. “We are always eager to support young talent in our industry,” said Mark Richardson, Managing Director of Blum UK. “Blum has a long history of encouraging young people to make the most of their opportunities, and we are thrilled to be able to support this event for Young Furniture Makers.”

The excitement and buzz surrounding the event demonstrates that the industry is thriving and is keen to actively engage with young talent, helping to build a robust workforce for the future.

The Master of the Furniture Makers' Compay, David Dewing, said: “One of our key objectives it to nurture young talented people through our Young Furniture Makers group, providing them with useful, relevant support and encouragement so that they remain within the industry, and become the leaders of tomorrow.

“It is heartening to see so many talented individuals presenting their work with such enthusiasm and commitment. It is our unique network of members and supporting companies that enables us to provide these invaluable opportunities.”