Announced this evening at the 2017 Arts Foundation Awards ceremony in Holborn, the Furniture Design prize has been awarded to London-based designer Max Frommeld. Known for his playful, problem-solving furniture, Frommeld is no stranger to impressing judging panels – his ‘Foldboat’ with Arno Mathies was previously shortlisted for a Wallpaper* Design Award in 2012.
Frommeld's 'Folding Boat', designed in collaboration with Arno Mathies, is a seamless leisure boat made from a standard sheet of plastic, which can be assembled in less than five minutes
The latest iteration of the Arts Foundations’ Furniture Design award, worth £10,000, has been made possible thanks to The David Collins Foundation, which was set up last year to honour the legacy of late architect and designer David Collins. The current CEO of David Collins Studio, Iain Watson, explains why the blossoming partnership is so important: ‘Furniture design was an area that David was very passionate about. Inspiration was found far and wide from auctions, to flea markets and exhibitions. We are delighted to embark on the first year of this new relationship.’
Watson is also the first to congratulate Frommeld on his worthy win. He highlights the German-born designer’s unique ability to combine ‘functionality and innovation’; values that Watson believes ‘are at the core of timeless design’. The other shortlisted designers, Adam Blencowe, Peter Marigold and Study O Portable, will each receive awards of £1,000.
The interiors of a small guest cabin Frommeld designed for a private client. Photography: Leslie Williamson
Offering rare versatility, the Arts Foundation Awards categories rotate annually. Along with the Furniture Design division – a first for the foundation – this year welcomes the return of the Materials Innovation category (nominees include Wallpaper* favourites Studio Swine), as well as prizes in Creative Non-Fiction, Essay Film, Live Art and Jazz Composition.
The Art Foundation Awards are an urgent celebration of creative talent, and they have a knack for spotting emerging excellence. If the renowned careers of previous winners – including artist Alex Hartley (2015) and choreographer Wayne McGregor (1994) – are anything to go by, Frommeld’s future looks bright.