Paul Kelley’s Magnetic Copper Cube series that won the Jonathan Hindle Prize for Excellence
Every year, the Design Guild Marks (now in its 10th edition) celebrate the excellent craft, creativity and ingeniousness which lie at the heart of the British furniture industry. This year’s awards honour 12 designs representing both the domestic and contract furniture market, and both new creative ideas as well as design classics.
‘It is very interesting to meet the very passionate designers and their product, ranging from domestic seating through to complex desk systems, presented to the judging panel,’ says the award chairman Rodney McMahon, head of a jury which included Twentytwentyone’s Simon Alderson, designers Terence Woodgate and Rodney Kinsman and journalist Barbara Chandler amongst others.
‘The quality and diversity of the applicants provided for a wholly stimulating range of presentations,’ adds Alderson. ‘It was interesting to consider the longevity of historic designs alongside the contemporary. The enduring quality of good design demands careful consideration of materials, process and form.’ The variety of styles and periods is evident throughout the dozen Marks, which range from classics such as Ernest Race’s Antelope chair to new designs, namely Philippe Malouin’s Group seating for SCP and Benjamin Hubert’s chair for Allermuir.
For the Jonathan Hindle Prize for Excellence, the jury chose the work of designer-maker Paul Kelley: from his South London workshop, Kelley created a furniture system based on a magnetic copper cube, which can be arranged in geometric compositions to create furniture and accessories around the home. ‘The standard in design, thinking and making of this year’s Design Guild Mark was not only hugely inspiring, but left me feeling proud of our British furniture industry,’ said Sebastian Conran Associates creative director Tom Pearce, a thought echoed by most of the jury members. ‘Design for me is a mix of art & technology,’ added Woodgate. ‘And we certainly experienced designs at both ends of the spectrum.’