The Design Guild Marks might be just a sprightly six years old, but these annual accolades have already become a coveted stamp of excellence in the British design industry for furniture designers working in volume production. This year's recipients have just been announced - and they're a diverse bunch indeed.
Full marks went to the 'Tip Ton' chair by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Vitra that tilts forward, creating a sitting position that encourages movement - an action proven to increase flow of oxygen around the body, therefore boosting the sitter's brain power (see W* 145 for more information). Of equal noteworthiness was the 'Radial Table Mechanism', a clever device by Martin Dodge Furniture designed to smoothly lift and fold table leaves; and the extremely refined wooden 'Finnieston' console table and bookcase for Channels, among others.
A further 18 Design Guild Mark recipients were plucked from 41 entries in a judging process akin to an episode of Dragons' Den. Designers entered the judges' lair, where I was privileged to sit on the panel alongside 10 others, including Sebastian Conran and Olga Polizzi. Here, entrants pitched their products one-by-one, a hugely informative process that revealed the thinking behind the creations.
Design Guild Marks were given to those that met the stringent design standards of The Furniture Makers Company, which introduced the awards in 2008. Innovation, problem solving, and expert craftsmanship are just a few of the traits they champion. Displaying these in spades, 2013's troops of recipients offer a very rosy snapshot of the British design industry as a whole.