The Furniture Makers’ Company announces the 2014 Design Guild Mark recipients

Design Guild Mark include the 'Washington Collection' of seating
The 27 recipients of a 2014 Design Guild Mark include the 'Washington Collection' of seating by David Adjaye for Knoll
(Image credit: David Adjaye)

A bumper crop of Design Guild Marks has been awarded this year to the likes of David Adjaye, PearsonLloyd, Simon Pengelly and Michael Sodeau. Handed out by the Furniture Makers' Company - a City of London livery company - the Design Guild Marks hail excellence in the design of furniture in volume production by the finest names working in the UK as well as British designers working abroad. A flood of entries arrived for the seventh edition, which shows just how covetable the Marks have become.

Twenty-seven Design Guild Marks have been announced after a marathon judging session in which myself and eight other panellists - ranging from Simon Alderson, co-founder of Twentytwentyone, to Jeremy Myerson, director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA - cross-examined each furniture designer and road-tested their products.

Architect David Adjaye was grilled via Skype before unanimously securing our vote for his 'Washington Collection' of seating for Knoll, a cantilevered duo of chairs that challenges materiality and form, while PearsonLloyd's Luke Pearson came in person to pitch two products, the stackable 'SixE Chair' for Howe and 'Riya Chair' for Bene. Both scored a Mark; the former for its considered and ultra-robust rethink of the classic plastic shell chair, and the latter for its humanised take on the task chair, complete with refreshingly intuitive controls.

Not every entry came from internationally known names, however. One unexpected gem came courtesy of designer Ben Fowler, who instantly won us over with his 'Hat Tree' for Marque Furniture - an ingeniously simple design on which hats, coats and keys can be hung on branch-like planks aligned in a fashion akin to a hedgerow.

With criteria that take into account use of materials, design innovation, manufacturing and function, the Marks don't just recognise brand new products, they also hail the finest designs from the past. One surprise entry was the 'Supporto Chair' by the late Frederick Scott from Zoeftig, first launched in 1979 by Hille, which was touchingly pitched by the designer's daughter. With a number of the judges being proud owners of Supportos, the case was clear for this enduring icon of office furniture design.

Concave Bookcase

'Concave Bookcase', by Simon Pengelly for Joined+Jointed

(Image credit: Simon Pengelly)

Norse Chair

'Norse Chair', by Simon Pengelly for Modus Furniture

(Image credit: Simon Pengelly)

SixE Chair

'SixE Chair', by PearsonLloyd for Howe

(Image credit: PearsonLloyd)

Riya Chair

'Riya Chair', by PearsonLloyd for Bene

(Image credit: PearsonLloyd)

Hat Tree

'Hat Tree', by Ben Fowler for Marque Furniture

(Image credit: Ben Fowler)

Supporto Chair

'Supporto Chair', by Frederick Scott for Zoeftig

(Image credit: Frederick Scott)

Fonteyn Dressing Table

'Fonteyn Dressing Table', by Steuart Padwick for

(Image credit: Frederick Scott)

Pembroke Range

 'Pembroke Range', by Sarah Kay, manufactured by Sitting Firm

(Image credit: Sarah Kay)

Wireframe Sofa Group

'Wireframe Sofa Group', by Sam Hecht & Kim Colin for Herman Miller

(Image credit: Sam Hecht & Kim Colin)

Windsor Rocker

'Windsor Rocker', by Katie Walker, manufactured by Sitting Firm

(Image credit: Katie Walker)

Sandur Chair

'Sandur Chair', by Gabbertas Studio for Oasiq

(Image credit: Gabbertas Studio)

Lovebird Sofa

'Lovebird Sofa', by Je-uk Kim for

(Image credit: Je-uk Kim)

Brompton Collection

'Brompton Collection', by Katerina Zacherides for Morgan

(Image credit: Katerina Zacherides)

Pimlico Collection

'Pimlico Collection' by Morgan Studio for Morgan

(Image credit: Morgan Studio)

Finn Lounge Chair

'Finn Lounge Chair', by Oliver Hrubiak for John Lewis

(Image credit: Oliver Hrubiak)

Focused Work Table

'Focused Work Table', by Jones & Partners for Thinking Works

(Image credit: Jones & Partners)

Deploy Table Range

'Deploy Table Range', by Broome Jenkins for Boss Design Group

(Image credit: Broome Jenkins)

Romana Large Sideboard

'Romana Large Sideboard', Dylan Freeth for Ercol

(Image credit: Dylan Freeth)

Slope Desk

'Slope Desk', by Leonhard Pfeifer for Müller Möbelwerkstätten

(Image credit: Leonhard Pfeifer)

Desk Three

'Desk Three', by Marie Dessuant for Another Country

(Image credit: Marie Dessuant)

Jot Desk

'Jot Desk', by Alex Hellum for Joined+Jointed

(Image credit: Alex Hellum)

Oxbow Chair

'Oxbow Chair', by Namon Gaston for Benchmark

(Image credit: Namon Gaston)

Span Dining Table

'Span Dining Table', by Rod Wales for Joined+Jointed

(Image credit: Rod Wales)

Radar Tables

'Radar Tables', by Rod Wales for John Lewis

(Image credit: Rod Wales)

Olly Stool

'Olly Stool', by David Lord and Ben Frost for Junction Fifteen

(Image credit: David Lord and Ben Frost)

Library Seating

'Library Seating', by Michael Sodeau for Modus Furniture

(Image credit: Michael Sodeau)

Malaika Byng is an editor, writer and consultant covering everything from architecture, design and ecology to art and craft. She was online editor for Wallpaper* magazine for three years and more recently editor of Crafts magazine, until she decided to go freelance in 2022. Based in London, she now writes for the Financial Times, Metropolis, Kinfolk and The Plant, among others.