The Furniture Makers’ Company held its annual one-day Young Furniture Makers exhibition last month, showcasing an impressive level of design talent among participating students. Axminster Tools & Machinery was one of the sponsors.

The exhibition displayed around 90 pieces of furniture and lighting from GCSE and A Level students through to BA and MA graduates. As a result, it was one of the most exciting displays in the exhibition’s history.

The sponsors

Held in the Dutch Church and Furniture Makers’ Hall in Austin Friars (London), the Young Furniture Makers exhibition is free for students to take part in. Accordingly, it provides the next generation of designers and makers an invaluable opportunity to present their designs to key members of the furnishing and design sector and the exhibition's sponsors. Other sponsors this year were Bensons for Beds, Harveys Furniture and The Furniture Ombudsman.

The judges

During the evening of the event, Master of the Furniture Makers’ Company Hayden Davies presented this year’s awards and thanked the sponsors. A panel of judges had already assessed the pieces earlier in the day. This year’s judges were Anthony Bailey – editor of Woodworking Crafts magazine; Steven Minghella – retail sales manager at Timothy Oulton; Rupert Senior – multi award winning designer maker; Peter Sharratt – technical support advisor at Blum; and Alan Styles – managing director of Axminster.

The winners

The winners of the awards were:

  • The Bespoke Award, sponsored by Festool – Beatrix Bray for the Fluctuare Table
  • The Design Award, sponsored by Crofts & Assinder – Lewis Small for Wilf Floor Lamp
  • The Innovation Award, sponsored by Knightsbridge – Matt Hill for the Array Table
  • The National School Prize – Brodie Haward for the Radioactive Bench
  • The Blum Best in Show Prize – Harriet Speed for Corkey’s Cabinet
  • The Timothy Oulton Best in Show Prize – Mac Collins for the Iklwa Chair

Axminster MD Alan Styles said: “We are proud to support the Young Furniture Makers exhibition for the fourth year in a row. The event is a great way for students, education and industry to network. The work by the Furniture Makers’ Company and the many individuals who give their time is making a notable difference. Axminster is focused on developing products and services to suit its many customers. Our association with the Young Furniture Makers and The Furniture Makers’ Company gives us a great insight in which to develop what we do. So we feel privileged to give back.”

It was a massive surprise and I am really grateful for the opportunity to go out to Hong Kong with Charlie Oulton and the team. It was a great evening surrounded by lovely people, both new and established, in the furniture industry.

Mac Collins (winner of the Timothy Oulton Best in Show Prize)