This has been another fascinating year in which to judge the furniture category of the Wood Awards. We, the judges, are delighted with the winners we have selected in the furniture category, and there is a lot of variety in the furniture we shortlisted. Congratulations to our winners, who are utterly deserving of their recognition.
One particularly interesting aspect of judging these awards is to look at the understanding developing between bespoke furniture and design for manufacture – to see how exactly designers are growing to understand the simplification of process that is needed for manufacture and how that can be coupled with quality of design, detailing and materials. On the other hand, there is enormous pleasure when one encounters the creativity, aesthetic understanding, craftsmanship and, often, restraint, that goes into the best bespoke pieces.
There is a wealth of furniture-making talent in this country, particularly among small independent makers. While the judges are delighted by the quality of the winning pieces, we would like to see even more makers submitting work. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase skills, both here and at the 100% Design exhibition in September, where all shortlisted entries appear on the Wood Awards stand in front of one of the most design-savvy audiences in the UK. If you are a furniture maker who did not enter this year, please try to do so next year, for your own benefit as well as that of the awards. And if you know of a talented furniture maker, please encourage them to enter. Then next year’s awards may be even better.
One of the things that makes judging the awards so pleasurable is the quality of my fellow judges, all of whom are themselves designer makers. I would like to thank them, as always, for their time and also for the fascinating conversations about furniture that stemmed from our appraisal of the entries. And, of course, I want to thank all those who entered the awards and made them possible.
Sean Sutcliffe, Chair of Judges, Wood Awards – Furniture