Announcing the AFDA 2020 Winner

Announcing the AFDA 2020 Winner

Proudly presented by Stylecraft and the National Gallery of Victoria

Stylecraft and The National Gallery Victoria (NGV) are delighted to announce the winner of the Australian Furniture Design Award 2020 is James Walsh with his submission ‘Anthropic Bench’.

As the winner of AFDA, Walsh receives a $20,000 cash prize, an invitation from Stylecraft to develop a design through to commercial production for distribution and a two-week residency program at JamFactory in Adelaide to experiment with new ideas and material, prototype new work or explore new making processes.

The Hugh Williamson Curator, Contemporary Design and Architecture, NGV, Simone LeAmon commented that “The AFDA jury was unanimous in their applause of Walsh's furniture design, recognising the designer's ambition to investigate meaningful and practical uses for glass that would otherwise end up in landfill, while delivering a new and novel aesthetic experience for furniture design that successfully merges the past with present.”

Walsh was one of five shortlisted entrants that were invited to proceed to Stage Two and present their realised designs for exhibition and judging at the Stylecraft showroom during Melbourne Design Week 2020. The shortlisted designers; Design King Company with Dr Christian Tietz, Marta Figueiredo, Supercyclers with Seljak Brand, Michael Gittings; each submitted design ideas responding to the Melbourne Design Week 2020 theme ‘How can design shape life?’.

The exhibition and Melbourne Design Week 2020 plans were diverted due to Covid-19 restrictions, forcing industry judging panel; Tony Russell, Brand Director, Stylecraft; Simone LeAmon, The Hugh Williamson Curator, Contemporary Design and Architecture, NGV; Brian Parkes, CEO, JamFactory, Helen Kontouris, Designer and Creative Director, LEN, and Tom Owens, Managing Director, Principal, Gensler, to conduct the presentations via video-link.

Walsh spoke about his design intentions being “to explore the growing global issue of the vast amount of post-consumer glass and the potential of this material through experimentation. To focus on the idea of material development, transformation and reinvention, the Anthropic bench substitutes as much recycled glass material into the traditional rammed earth recipe as possible, whilst maintaining strength of durability. This convergence of tradition and technology raises awareness of the potential of forming a solution-based link between this age-old method and the current rising issue of waste material.”


The Australian Furniture Design Award was founded in 2015 by Stylecraft. Sydney-based designer Seaton McKeon won the inaugural award for The Sun The Moon and Me, a freestanding light and mirror. In 2017 Alice Springs-based designer Elliat Rich received the award for her sculptural vanity, Place. Elliat’s resulting collection of furniture and lighting, ‘Different Thoughts’, is launching exclusively at Stylecraft in July 2020.

The Australian Furniture Design Award is presented by NGV and Stylecraft as part of Melbourne Design Week 2020, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV. The awards competition is coordinated by Citylab.


View the exhibition gallery online here