Selected by judges as the best of this year’s Young Furniture Makers crop, another handful of worthy winners has joined the Young Furniture Makers Awards alumni.

The Young Furniture Makers Awards – the student equivalent of The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Guild Marks – recognise excellence in the fields of bespoke and design, and every year the company receives a huge number of entries, with the most impressive traditionally invited to show at the Young Furniture Makers exhibition in London, to be scrutinised by the judges in person.

This year, a virtual exhibition featuring 55 shortlisted designs took place instead.The judges were: Zo? Bonser, portfolio director at Clarion Events; Chris Hyde, director of curriculum at Activate Learning; Peter Sharratt, technical support advisor at Blum; Alan Styles, MD of Axminster Tools & Machinery; and Charles Vernon, past master of The Furniture Makers’ Company.

The winners were invited to a ceremony at Furniture Makers’ Hall in October where they were presented with their awards by the master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, David Woodward, and Zo? Bonser.

David comments: “It was a huge pleasure to be able to present the 2021 Young Furniture Makers Awards to these talented and charming young people. I wish them all well for their future in our fantastic industry.”

Zo? says: “Nurturing the creative, technical, design and craft talents of the next generation of furnituremakers is so indescribably important, and we’re thrilled to be giving our support to the Young Furniture Makers Awards.”

Alan adds: “Axminster Tools is committed to helping to build a sustainable future for the furniture industry. In order to preserve traditional crafts, it’s vital that we continue to support and develop fresh new talent. It’s a privilege to be involved with the Young Furniture Makers Awards – the level of innovation, design and craftsmanship is truly wonderful to experience.”

This year’s winners were:

Bespoke Award

First place: Joe Geehan for Aero

Second place: Finn Timmins for Regenerated Kumkio

Third place: Charlie Teager-Neale for the Onyx Cabinet

“I am very proud to have received such a prestigious accolade,” says Joe. “It has been a really big confidence boost as I move into the furniture industry.”

Design Award

First place: Charlotte McGowan for Set Tee

Second place: Harry Peck for the Wave Cycle

Third place: Jack Buttling for HUDL

“Winning a Young Furniture Makers award has given me some amazing opportunities to display my work, on platforms which might not have seen it otherwise,” says Charlotte. “The awards mean so much to me, as it feels like a validation of all our efforts, to produce and design, despite being in a pandemic with limited resources.”

School Design Award

Joint first place: Noah Samson for Tambour Door Unit

Joint first place: Annabel Harris for the Spiral Seating Structure

Third place: Oliver Stiff for Bar Keeper

“This was an amazing experience – not only to win the award, but also to exhibit my piece in London and have the opportunity to speak to those in the furniture industry,” says Annabel. “My piece was a challenging design to create and required many processes and new techniques. I am currently studying architecture at Cardiff University, and this award has opened new doors and opportunities in the field of design, which will be valuable in my career going forward.”?

Noah comments: “When I came to the show in 2019, I saw the quality of the work on display and made it my goal to have one of my future pieces showcased at the event. So, when I found out I had won, I was more than thrilled to know that people viewed my work in the same light as those from the previous years, and that all of my hard work and dedication throughout the uncertainty of lockdowns was being recognised.”

Innovation Award

First place: Joe Geehan for Aero

Special Commendation: Harry Peck for the Wave Cycle

“Designing and crafting Aero has been an incredible journey, testing me in ways I would have never expected,” says Joe. “I have loved every second of it! The additional challenges of Covid have taught me how important teamwork and togetherness are in all aspects of life.”

Best in Show

Winner: Charlotte McGowan for Set Tee

“I have known about the awards since I started university,” says Charlotte, “and had even visited as an intern at Luke Hughes – the exposure which comes with the award is really beneficial when entering a competitive industry like design, as it introduces us to industry professionals too.”

Pictured from left: Joe Geehan, Noah Samson, Charlotte McGowan and Harry Peck

See the winning products in December 2021's Furniture News, here.