The Young Furniture Makers Awards
As part of Blum’s involvement in the wider furniture community, I was honoured to be asked to judge the entry’s for the young furniture makers awards.
Having never been to the furniture maker’s hall before, it was quite a little oasis of calm in a really busy part of the city, almost hidden behind the Bank of England.
Once inside and formalities over with, it was time to look around. The work of the students was displayed everywhere and it seemed there was no space at all. There was a little frantic last minute adjustments as sadly some of the designs didn’t travel too well.
We tried to speak with all the designers about the projects, but it soon became clear that we would never make it around all the students, if we talked for more than 5 minutes with each one, so we had to try and encourage them to highlight the most important parts, sometimes teenagers are not as confident as we would like.
After we had seen all the designs, we retired to an office where we made our decisions, this was very difficult, as everything we had seen was worthy of merit.
However as with these things there has to be a winner, and even that was a compromise in the end as we chose two fantastic examples of work that pushed innovation with unusual materials and methods.
So the winners are…
Conor with his “Lilo bench” which used high pressure water injection to push sheet steel apart to create the blow up mattress effect, he had quite a few attempts to get this right and persevered to achieve some stunning results.
Awarding the prize to Conor was a little ironic for me as a cabinet maker as I have a love for wood products, so as a compromise we also awarded a joint first prize to Jans who had created what seemed a simple ash chair, but when looked into demonstrated some clever use and understanding for the issues a chair maker encounters.
They say making chairs is the most difficult for any cabinet maker as any shortcomings will become quickly highlighted in use, so it was brave of Jans to sculpt the back of the chair with one piece and he had to use tools which he was unfamiliar with to achieve the complex carved effect.
Upstairs was also displayed A level and GCSE work from a number of students, unfortunately these were not part of the competition, which was a shame as some would have been in good company downstairs.
The prize for the two winners is a trip to Austria, where they will take in a visit to the Blum plant, with a well deserved opportunity to visit the local sights.