The prestigious Design Guild Mark is awarded to drive excellence and raise the profile of British design and innovation. The Award recognises the highest standards in the design of furniture for volume production, by the finest designers working in Britain.
The Furniture Makers Company was founded as a guild in 1951 and granted livery status in 1963, becoming the 83rd livery company of the City of London and only the sixth to be formed since the reign of Queen Anne ended in 1714. Introduced in 2008, the Design Guild Mark recognises the highest standards in British furniture design. The judges are renowned experts in their respective fields and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the evaluation process. Uniquely the designers present their furniture in person on judging day, and the judges are able to examine each product closely. Every product is judged on 4 main areas - design, the use of materials, manufacture and function. The 2016 award formed part of the final day of Clerkenwell Design week with the ceremony being hosted in the Goldsmiths' Centre in Farringdon.
Whilst working for Marks & Spencer one of my designs - the Ashworth Desk - was deemed to have met the criteria necessary for a Design Guild Mark. In April 2016 I had the privilege of presenting the Ashworth Desk to some heavyweights of the industry, representing companies such as John Lewis, TwentyTwentyOne, The Evening Standard and Conran. Gathered together in one space the quality of the products on show was clearly visible, with entrants from companies such as Ercol, Benchmark, Case Furniture, Knoll and Made.com, alongside individuals such as Matthew Hilton, Theo Williams, Bethan Gray, David Irwin and Ben Fowler.
DGM: 150 - The Ashworth Desk
Marks & Spencer and Conran have a long history of developing products in partnership and for Spring Summer 2016 the design focus was shifted in-house at M&S. The Ashworth Desk was an attempt to showcase the best of the Conran brand whilst still ensuring the product could appeal to the M&S customer. The desk itself is made using solid walnut, with an inset glass top. Each piece uses tapered, angled legs and a chamfered top section that frames up the glass. Using glass in the top allowed the beautiful walnut frame construction to show through, as well as the drawer detailing below. The fixing point between the solid walnut legs and the desktop frame are hidden by a innovative walnut cap, which as well as hiding the fixings completely also makes an attractive detail below the surface of the glass.
DGM: 150 - The Ashworth Desk
In the frame section beneath the glass there is a small joint detail which hides the leg fixings and screws
The glass top allows the user to see through into the drawer compartments below
The tapered legs and overhanging top make the desk incredibly functional, allowing maximum work space