Winner’s circle: 2015 Design Guild Marks celebrate British excellence

Mark Gabbertas’ versatile CoCo seating range for Oasiq
The 21 recipients of a 2015 Design Guild Mark include Mark Gabbertas’ versatile CoCo seating range for Oasiq
(Image credit: Guild Mark)

British craft, design and manufacturing excellence has once again taken centre stage with the announcement of the Furniture Markers’ annual awards, the Design Guild Marks.

A charity dedicated to the British furnishing industry, The Furniture Makers (opens in new tab) is a livery company established as a guild in 1952 to provide support and direction to manufacturers and craftsmen. Now in its eighth edition, the company’s Design Guild Marks have been created to celebrate the finest designers working in Britain as well as British designers working abroad on volume-produced furniture.

Over 50 entries were submitted ranging from classic furniture to brand new creations, varying in purpose from hospitality to workplace and residential. As is tradition, each designer was invited to present their project to the jury during a day-long session, allowing the judges to experience, test and analyse each piece while hearing more about inspirations, techniques and anecdotes.

The 21 award winners included Samuel Chan’s clever range of minimalist wooden furniture for Channels, Terence Conran’s asymmetric coffee table and Mark Gabbertas’ versatile seating range for Oasiq. Some older, legendary pieces were also recognised by the Marks, such as Rodney Kinsman’s seating for OMK Design, a Robin Day chair and Ernest Race’s iconic 1964 chair.

The wide range of works awarded offer a panoramic view of British design, representing both a refined creativity and great manufacturing standards, as well as affirming the importance of the accolades.

‘The quality of the designs was extremely high and the work of designers and manufacturers is positively lauded through the Design Guild Marks,’ said twentytwentyone founder Simon Alderson, one of the eight judges at the helm. ‘The awards reflect the enduring pedigree of British design.’

Terence Conran’s Balance coffee table for Content

Terence Conran’s Balance coffee table for Content by Terence Conran

(Image credit: Terence Conran)

Timba Table

Timba Table by Pearson Lloyd

(Image credit: Pearson Lloyd)

Edge Table

Edge Table by Pearson Lloyd for Modus Furniture

(Image credit: Pearson Lloyd)

Kerning Bookcase Collection

Kerning Bookcase Collection by Samuel Chan for Channels

(Image credit: Samuel Chan )

Cross Leg chair

Cross Leg chair by Magnus Long for the Conran Shop, which was also awarded with the Jonathan Hindle Prize

(Image credit: Samuel Chan )

HenRay office system by Henry Gurney for Ocee Design

HenRay office system by Henry Gurney for Ocee Design

(Image credit: Henry Gurney)

Pollyfox Bench

Pollyfox Bench by Henry Swanzey, whose matching glass-top table also won a Mark

(Image credit: Henry Swanzey)

Svelto Round stacking stool

Svelto Round stacking stool by Lisa Sandall for Ercol

(Image credit: Lisa Sandall)

Flite seating

Flite seating by Rodney Kinsman for OMK Design

(Image credit: odney Kinsman)

Rodney Kinsman's Omkstak chair

Also among the awarded pieces was Rodney Kinsman's Omkstak chair

(Image credit: Rodney Kinsman)

Robin Day's 675 chair

The roster of designs receiving the Marks also included some legendary pieces such as Robin Day's 675 chair edited by Case Furniture...

(Image credit: Robin Day)

The BA3 chair by Ernest Race

...and the BA3 chair by Ernest Race, from 1964

(Image credit: Ernest Race)

Loki sofa

Loki sofa by Charlie Fowler for John Lewis

(Image credit: Charlie Fowler)

Poon desk

Poon desk by Tony Portus and Simon Pirie for Makers' Eye, designed to use in Universities' dorm rooms

(Image credit: Tony Portus and Simon Pirie)

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.