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Nurturing Australian Furniture Design: AFDA

After recently celebrating Launch Pad’s tenth birthday, it’s great to see more competitions getting behind young designers and supporting the future of Australian design – The Australian Furniture Design Award being a point in case.

Nurturing Australian Furniture Design: AFDA


November 24th, 2014

From the perspective of an emerging designer, and the design industry more generally, the more competitions and awards the better. Having variety in such initiatives is even better. Launch Pad, for example, promotes the support and development of Australian product design in its entirety, the Australian Furniture Design Award focuses solely on furniture.

The establishment of this new biennial award, announced by JamFactory and Stylecraft this month, is anticipated to be a rich and prestigious design award in Australia. Aiming to raise the profile of Australian designers and encourage innovation in furniture design, the winner of the Award will receive a $20,000 cash prize and a residency at Adelaide’s JamFactory to develop a design through to commercial production for national distribution through Stylecraft.

As Anthony Collins from Stylecraft points out, this is one of the Awards most significant points. “There are many reasons that I feel the AFDA is unique,” says Anthony, “However, if I were to emphasise one point, it would be that this award has a solid guarantee of what the winner ‘will receive’ as opposed to ‘might receive’. Most furniture awards have a lot of fine print and caveats attached to them. For example, the winners design may or may not be produced. With the AFDA, it is about what the winner ‘will receive’ as opposed to what the winner ‘may receive’.

Also making AFDA unique is that the support “kicks in immediately after the winner is announced”.

“That is really when we start to get serious about making sure the winner is supported through this journey and every effort is made to ensuring that they become a success, not only their design but as an individual through the mentorship from Stylecraft and Jam Factory,” says Collins. “…That is what really excites me about this journey.”

Similarly, judge Jon Goulder of JamFactory is behind the Awards for their integrity. “This is real,” he says, “there are no smoke and mirrors, no shelving of ideas or intellectual property, no entry fees, no freight of work to exhibitions, minimal cost to the designers and no free Research and Design for the stakeholders. This competition is for the designer, the outcomes are guaranteed! That’s why I am interested and why I have been a driver, I like to make big things happen with great people.”

Also unique to the Award is that the winner’s prototype work will be acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Award is open to all Australian designers or designers currently resident in Australia and entries can be submitted on-line between now and the closing date 22 May 2015. From there, six finalists will be chosen by an expert judging panel, from which prototypes will be exhibited at Stylecraft’s Adelaide showroom in July 2015 when the winner will be announced. The exhibition of finalists’ works will then tour to Stylecraft showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth over the following 12 months.


The Art Gallery of South Australia



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