First awards of Design Guild Mark for furniture

Luke Pearson, Tom Lloyd, Matthew Hilton and Tim Wallace are just some of the well-known names among the furniture designers who have been awarded the first Design Guild Mark for Excellence in British Furniture Design.

The accolade’s aim is to recognise items of quality and allow designers to demonstrate that a panel of eminent and independent individuals from the wider design world have acknowledged their product’s creative strengths.

The Furniture Makers Company has introduced the mark as a way of rewarding excellence in volume production furniture by British designers worldwide and by designers working in the UK.

Design Guild Mark chairman Jonathan Hindle says, ‘This is not an award for only the most elite of furniture designs.’

The 11 winners include Mark Gabbertas, Marc Krusin, Knightsbridge Design Team, Stuart Padwick and Pearson Lloyd.

Winners will be able to use the company’s coat of arms and logo on product labelling and will have a link to their websites added to the company’s website.

Judge Sheridan Coakley, managing director at SCP, says, ‘This is intended to be similar to the Design Council’s Kitemark, and the ambition is that furniture retailers such as John Lewis take notice of it when purchasing.’

Tom Lloyd, partner at Pearson Lloyd which was given the mark for its Soul chair, says, ‘Awards like this are important, not only because they recognise the big challenge of innovation in the mass production sector of design where ideas can be affected by issues such as market price, but because they highlight to clients that their investment in design is money well-spent.’

In addition to Coakley, the 11-strong judging panel included Conran & Partners director Sebastian Conran and Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic.

Initial judging of almost 50 entries took place in March, after which the judges called in 15 of the shortlisted pieces before deciding which pieces would receive the mark, says a Design Guild spokeswoman.

The judging criteria used to evaluate the furniture consisted of whether the materials were appropriate and sustainable, if the entries looked set to last, represented value and showed new thinking.

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