Australian Furniture Design Award 2020

Australian Furniture Design Award 2020

Shortlist announced for Australia’s most significant furniture design award

The National Gallery Victoria (NGV) and Stylecraft are proud to announce the shortlisted designers for the Australian Furniture Design Award 2020.

The biennial award fosters Australian designers and makers through professional mentoring, commercial production opportunities and a $20,000 prize.

From the many entries received from across Australia, a shortlist of five entrants are now 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 are Design King Company with Dr Christian Tietz, Marta Figueiredo, Supercyclers with Seljak Brand, Michael Gittings, and James Walsh.

Each of the shortlisted designers submitted design ideas responding to the Melbourne Design Week 2020 theme ‘How can design shape life?’ judged by an industry jury including 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.

Simone LeAmon said the award jury ‘sought out submissions that demonstrated critical and creative thinking and explored new design and production processes. There were diverse approaches and much debate about furniture as both a critical practice capable of telling stories and opening conversations, and furniture as a commercial paradigm that must come to terms with a new age of sustainable materials and manufacturing. In the end the shortlist bridges both of these worlds and represents the diversity of Australian furniture practice’.

The winning designer will receive 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 materials, prototype new work or explore new making processes.

The winner will be announced on Thursday July 16th by Stylecraft & the NGV.

Shortlisted Designer Bios

Dr. Christian Tietz is the Director of Industrial Design at the Faculty of Built Environment, UNSW Sydney. His research interests are in Design and Context, particularly the role of data in telling a story about the user and their often surprising daily regimes. He is curious about the way things can reveal a narrative about their use and place in the world and how this can reflect our perception of and relationship to things. Design King Company is an architectural design studio based in Paddington, Sydney. With over 20 years of experience, the practice continues to be committed to the founding principle of providing design excellence across all projects. This working philosophy can be seen in projects that range from a tiny artist’s studio in the Blue Mountains to a large scale office building in Alexandria.

Marta Figueiredo is a Portuguese architect, artist and designer based in Melbourne. Her design and curatorial practice, which unites sophisticated craft with fun and sensory experimentation, was founded in 2016. Her stimulating work is a joyful coming together of Portuguese and Australian design. Born and raised in the small village of Vouzela in Portugal’s central north mountains, Marta studied architecture at Faculdade de Arquitectura do Porto (FAUP) in Portugal (1997), and Ecole d’Architecture de Belleville in France (2001). For many years, she worked in Paris and London, before settling in Melbourne in 2013.

Supercyclers is a design collective that aims to build a sustainable future into the products they create and transform perceptions of waste materials in the process. It was founded by designer and curator Sarah K in order to address and elevate the issues of sustainability in design. Supercyclers functions as a broad initiative responsible for exhibitions, events, design projects, and has evolved into a brand with sustainability as a central premise. Seljak Brand Founded by sisters Karina Seljak, trained in Fashion Design, and Samantha Seljak, trained in Sustainability Leadership, they work with Australia’s oldest mill in Tasmania and a 92-year-old weaving mill in Lithuania to weave recycled wool blankets that can be remanufactured at the end of their life, thus closing the loop.

Michael Gittings grew up in Albury, NSW. He completed a trade apprenticeship in Roof Plumbing and worked in the construction industry full time until a 6-month trip to Europe in 2014. Upon returning to Australia Michael started pursuing several different creative outlets including music and instrument making ultimately settling on furniture design. Michael's current practice is deeply intuitive, focusing on metals and their properties. He is interested in the myriad of treatments and technologies employed by industry to form and finish metal products, some of which are at the very forefront of modern science while others have been around for millennia.

James Walsh is a Sydney Based Industrial Designer, with a Melbourne based background. Having graduated from RMIT with first class Honours in 2017, James has accumulated over six years of experience in various furniture and lighting companies and exhibited in various exhibitions including the Salone Satellite in Milan. Currently James is working with leading design house, Vert Design, while also undertaking various side projects and exhibitions that demonstrate his experimental approach to design.