Australian Furniture Design Award 2020


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James Walsh<br/>
<em>Anthropic Bench</em>  2020<br/>
Image courtesy of James Walsh

James Walsh has been awarded the Australian Furniture Design Award for 2020 and a $20,000 cash prize for his entry Anthropic bench.

Reinventing an ancient material tradition, furniture designer James Walsh combines rammed earth with recycled glass filings to produce a seductive, sustainable and hard-wearing composite for Anthropic bench. The material is realised in a design exhibiting an intelligent assembly that is beautifully detailed and resolved.

James Walsh was selected from a shortlist of five finalists, who were invited to present their realised designs for exhibition at the Stylecraft showroom in Melbourne, followed by virtual judging.

Sydney based furniture and industrial designer, James Walsh graduated from RMIT university in 2017. Designing furniture and homewares for his own studio brand and leading Australian companies, his work has appeared in various exhibitions including the Salone Satellite in Milan. Currently James is working with leading design house, Vert Design, while also undertaking various projects and exhibitions that demonstrate his experimental approach to design.

As part of Melbourne Design Week (12–22 March 2020), the National Gallery of Victoria has for the first time partnered with Stylecraft to present the Australian Furniture Design Award (AFDA).

The Australian Furniture Design Award began in 2015 as Australia’s richest furniture design prize. Sydney-based designer Seaton McKeon won the inaugural award in 2015 with 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.

Now in its third iteration, the NGV and Stylecraft present the Australian Furniture Design Award as a two-stage competition with the first stage being an open call for a new and original furniture design concept and information on your professional practice.

The jury will review stage one submissions and shortlist up to five competitors to present their realised designs for exhibition and stage two judging at the Stylecraft showroom during Melbourne Design Week 2020.

All shortlisted competitors will receive an honorarium of $1,000 (ex GST) to assist with the realisation of their design for exhibition.

Please note: Both the design concept submitted in stage one and the realised design submitted in stage two must not have been published, exhibited or commercially produced prior to the time of the AFDA exhibition, 12 March 2020.

Tony Russell, Brand Director, Stylecraft
Simone LeAmon (chair), The Hugh Williamson Curator, Contemporary Design and Architecture, NGV
Brian Parkes, CEO, JamFactory
Helen Kontouris, Designer and Creative Director, LEN
Tom Owens, Managing Director, Principal, Gensler

The winning designer will receive:

Cash prize: AUD$20,000 (ex GST) cash prize with associated press activity;

Stylecraft invitation: an invitation to develop a design (either the submission or new work) through to commercial production for distribution through Stylecraft nationally and in Singapore; and,

JamFactory residency: an invitation to do a two-week residency program at JamFactory in Adelaide: travel costs and accommodation will be provided as part of the Award. The winner will have the opportunity to develop a tailored program, during which they will have access to facilities and technical assistants to experiment with new ideas and materials, prototype new work or explore new making processes in JamFactory’s ceramics, glass, furniture or metal and jewellery studios or related local manufacturers.

Partners and Supporters

NGV Stylecraft Creative Victoria

The NGV Department of Contemporary Design and Architecture is generously supported by The Hugh D. T. Williamson Foundation.

Melbourne Design Week and the Victorian Design Program are initiatives of the Victorian Government

The Australian Furniture Design Award competition process is developed and delivered by CityLab.

Image: James Walsh, Anthropic bench, 2020. Image courtesy of James Walsh