The Furniture Makers’ Company has announced the Design Guild Mark (DGM) 2014 award recipients. The award, now in its seventh year, rewards excellence in the design of furniture in volume production and the best from British designers working abroad.

Graham Jones, chairman of the award scheme, oversaw a judging panel consisting of: Simon Alderson, twentytwentyone; Nick Hill, Marks & Spencer; Joanna Biggs, GA Design; Diane Monkhouse, Swanke Hayden Connell; Malaika Byng, Wallpaper*;? Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Foundation; Barbara Chandler, The Evening Standard; Jason Wilary-Attew, John Lewis; and Lee Cheong, University of Portsmouth. All judges with an interest in any given entry stood aside when that entry was being considered.

The criteria are for excellence in four fields – design, the use of materials, manufacture and function.

Graham Jones comments: “This year has been particularly exciting. We have seen a record number of entries that suggests the DGM is really gaining awareness and value. We also had a number of new judges who were open and energetic about what they saw and heard. Most significantly, we had many first-time applicants and, particularly, young applicants, who really expressed a passion for their craft and for why they wanted to apply for a DGM.”

“In an age of the virtual, the DGM is very real,” says Barbara Chandler. “We have all the pieces of furniture to view for designers and/or manufacturers there to present for real, and we the judges are definitely real – though, with 55 submissions to get through this time, the atmosphere was perhaps a little surreal towards the end.

“If you want to put your finger on the pulse of British furniture design, then the DGM judging is the place to do it”

“Thus, as a judging exercise within the design industry, the DGM is unique. We cross-question the designers/manufacturers. We crawl all over the furniture, plonking down on chairs and sofas, pulling out drawers, stroking finishes, and looking underneath everything.”

Simon Alderson adds: “The submissions for the DGM were rich and diverse. It was both stimulating and challenging to decipher key attributes that combine to acknowledge furniture with this prestigious award. The high quantity and overall quality of this year’s shortlist reflects well on the health of the British design industry.”

Jeremy Myerson comments: “If you want to put your finger on the pulse of British furniture design, then the DGM judging is the place to do it. The 2014 session was full of ideas, energy, talent and skill – and we gave the mark to some great work.”

A sample of the winning products will feature upon a DGM stand at 100% Design, taking place between 17-20th September at Earls Court.

This article was featured in the June issue of Furniture News magazine.