Talent spotting

Design Week is running a new award specifically aimed at young furniture designers with the exhibition sponsored and hosted by Selfridges.

The idea for Furniture Futures came about following the 1997 Design Week Awards, when we realised we were not attracting enough young talent to the furniture category.

The competition focuses on contemporary work from practising designers under 35 years of age, or not more than five years out of college. Items of furniture launched between 1 April 1995 and 31 March this year were eligible. To encourage impecunious designers to enter, we decided to waive the normal fee.

Professor Floris van den Broecke, then head of the school of architecture, interiors and furniture at the Royal College of Art, chaired the award and was delighted by the high standards. “The submissions illustrate conclusively that we now have in the UK a very strong base of young designers with an exceptionally talented top group, which is likely to fulfil my dreams for the future of British furniture.”

The judges whittled the 70 or so entries down to a shortlist of 11 designs which can be seen at Selfridges from 9 to 16 October. Final judging takes place today.


Chaired by

Floris van den Broecke, Director of Ercol Furniture

Vittorio Radice, Managing director of Selfridges

Lorenzo Apicella, Apicella Associates

Sheridan Coakley, SCP

Nicky Churchill, Design Week

Curve chair

Design: Robert Kilvington

Manufacturer: Ness Furniture

This lightweight contract chair is made from aluminium square-section tube and laminated veneer seat and back. An upholstered version is also available.


Design: Andrew Stafford

Manufacturer: Stafford

Andrew Stafford’s bed has lightweight adjustable headboards which angle to become backrests for reading or taking breakfast in bed. The twin headboards are finished in maple or American walnut veneer or upholstered with removeable linen covers. The headboards pivot forward and rest on the mattress at any desired angle. Locking castors enable easy movement of the bed, which has also been designed to flat pack.

Antler chair

Design: Shin & Tomoko Azumi

Manufacturer: Ness Furniture

This stacking chair incorporates underseat storage and is designed to hang from the table edge. The seat is beech-veneered plywood with a contoured metal back of epoxy-sprayed steel.

Step Design: Alexander Hellum

Manufacturer: Own production

Step 1 was developed following a research programme into staircases and the different ways they are used to get from A to B. It is intended as a perch for library use, where a quiet place for reference and to read is required. The chair is constructed from birch plywood with a paint finish.

Yuu circle

Design: Cristina Lamiquiz

Manufacturer: Own production

The theme is taken from the Japanese word Yuu, which means to relax and play. The frame is a grid of interlocking circular segments in wood. The mattress is attached to a perforated layer fixed to the main structure. The circle is 2.5m in diameter and can tilt up to 23 degrees in any direction.

TAM occasional table

Design: Simon Pengelly

Manufacturer: Own production

The tambour pulls open to reveal internal storage for books, videos or whatever. Video recorders can also be installed and connected to the TV via the cable holes in the base of the carcass. Tam is made from MDF, solid pear and pear veneer with a laminated top or sprayed paint finish.

Bench = Bed

Design: Shin & Tomoko Azumi

Manufacturer: Own production

The Azumi’s bench transforms into a bed. The outside shell structure is made from MDF which opens up to reveal a foam cushion covered in white cotton. Legs and handles are made from solid maple.


Design: Andrew Stafford

Manufacturer: SCP

This mobile clothes storage unit offers a minimal and simple alternative to the wardrobe and epitomises the current approach to open modern living. Storage is provided top and bottom. The rubber coat hooks at either end of the rails pull out to provide 300mm of extra hanging space. The unit is constructed from aluminium and beech, with a cast aluminium base.

Johanna I

Design: Ineke Hans

Manufacturer: Own production

Ineke Hans’ upholstered stool consists of three legs on a wooden frame which simply bolt together to make a seat. The construction of each leg is identical making the stool easy and cost effective to produce.

Low circular table

Design: Cristina Lamiquiz

Manufacturer: Own production

This table is made out of two circular surfaces, the top one being glass. The lower shelf is made from MDF with three smaller circles cut out. These pivot through 90 degrees to become the legs of the table and are attached to the middle shelf with specially designed stainless steel brackets.

Hi Honey I’m Home

Design: Michael Marriott

Manufacturer: SCP

This coat rack features parts turned from 50mm steamed beech. The glued construction comprises 12 pegs, a top, a middle and a base, two posts and five feet.

The contenders

Shin & Tomoko Azumi

Both Shin and Tomoko Azumi studied at Kyoto City University of Art, Japan, before coming to London to attend the Royal College of Art. On graduation, from the RCA they formed Azumi’s and have worked with Heals, Alessi, NEC and Tokyo Design Network.

Ineke Hans

Ineke Hans studied at Arnhem, Holland, and London’s Royal College of Art. Since graduating in 1995, she has distributed and produced her own designs and acted as a consultant for industrial companies. She is currently a visiting tutor at Hochshule fr Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, and Universitario di Archittetura in Venice and is external advisor to Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London.

Alexander Hellum

Alexander Hellum trained at the Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education and the Royal College of Art. Since graduating in 1996, he has worked on a freelance basis, undertaking private commissions and entering competitions. He is currently a tutor on the Buckinghamshire College furniture design course.

Robert Kilvington

Robert Kilvington trained at Parnham College and the Royal College of Art in London. A year after graduating from the RCA, he was awarded a setting-up grant by the Crafts Council and has exhibited throughout the UK. He now works to commission using traditional cabinet making techniques. The materials he uses include timber, steel and glass.

Cristina Lamiquiz

Cristina Lamiquiz studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, before coming to England to study furniture and product design at Kingston Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. After graduating, she spent six months in Milan working for furniture manufacturer De Padova, before returning to London to concentrate on commissions and competitions.

Michael Marriott

Michael Marriott trained at the London College of

Furniture and the Royal College of Art. On graduating, he set up his own studio specialising in furniture design. He designs and oversees production of his own work, as well as working with companies such as SCP and Inflate. He is currently a visiting lecturer at the RCA and Kingston University in Surrey.

Simon Pengelly

Simon Pengelly studied at Rycotewood College and Kingston Polytechnic before joining Conran Design Group and then Habitat’s Design Studio as a product and furniture designer. As a freelance consultant, he continues to work with the Habitat team while maintaining his development work with other clients and working on his own range of furniture.

Andrew Stafford

Andrew Stafford studied at Worthing and Kingston Polytechnic. Since graduating, he has run his own design studio with a client list including Mitsubishi, SCP and Volvo in Singapore. Projects in London include working with design group Fuel on furniture for Levi’s Regent Street store, and as a consultant to Brinkworth for retailer Only at The Plaza, Oxford Street.

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