Published on : Monday, March 4, 2019
The fifth edition of The Furniture Awards, held at this year’s January Furniture Show, saw some of the strongest entrants to date recognised for their market-beating models. With new categories, an independent line-up of expert judges and more entries than ever vying for the top spot, 2019’s champions are due some well-deserved recognition, writes Paul Farley.
Picking the top players from some 500 furniture suppliers and manufacturers is no mean feat. Each year, the Furniture Awards, a programme developed by Furniture News magazine in partnership with the January Furniture Show, aims to do just that, and put the industry’s most creative, intelligent and industrious furniture providers to the fore.
Evaluating the many entries with integrity takes a good deal of industry expertise, and this year’s judging panel had this in spades. With specialist beds and cabinet experience covered by Ross Beveridge (Archers Sleepcentre) and designer Rob Scarlett (Furniture & Print), respectively, complemented by holistic buying perspectives from Matt Hesketh (AHF) and Malcolm Walker (FIRST MW, ex-Furniture Village), it’s hard to dispute the selection process.
Following evaluation of every entry in December, a shortlist was drawn up for on-site inspection at the Birmingham NEC. Led by the awards co-ordinator (yours truly), the judges toured the show before it opened to the trade, quizzing representatives and getting a feel for each entry in the flesh before sitting down to discuss their thoughts and return a verdict.
The entry categories – Living & Dining Cabinet, Bedroom Cabinet, Upholstery, Accents, and Mattresses & Divans – each attracted a good number of entries, ranging from first-time exhibitors to high-profile brands, reflecting the scale and diversity of the exhibition itself. Either way, a look at the following pages reveals a string of success stories worthy of acclaim.
“The awards seemed different this year, but definitely in a good way,” comments awards co-ordinator, and editor-in-chief of Furniture News magazine, Paul Farley. “Perhaps it’s all the uncertainty around us, but it felt like 2019’s entrants were more committed to making the most of their achievements, and this was reflected in the overall quality of presentation around the show.” Paul added further.
“The products themselves were generally better thought-through – from concept and quality to after-sales service and marketing strategy. The high standards set by this year’s winners reflect a trade which, faced with hardship, has fought to reach the top of its game, and then stepped things up another notch. My hope is that things just keep getting better in this regard – however the economy behaves. Well done to all of them.” Paul concluded.
This year’s awards were sponsored by trade association BFM, and entrants were given extra incentive by digital marketing specialist Orbital Vision, which pledged to reward each winner with a photorealistic rendition of their entry for use in print, PoS, online and social media – a free marketing package which promised a taste of Orbital’s impressive enVision software platform.
January Furniture Show event director Cleere Scammel comments: “The Furniture Awards at January Furniture Show are an increasingly important element of the show. Each year the level of entries has grown and has included new and inventive uses of materials, remarkable designs and clever construction. We are looking forward to developing the awards in future years, with the aim of making them a highly regarded, industry-wide accolade.”
Source: Furniture News