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Australian Furniture Design Award winner 2024 with Stylecraft and NGV

Australia’s most significant furniture and lighting design accolade has been awarded to Australian-Portuguese architect and multidisciplinary designer, Marta Figueiredo.

Australian Furniture Design Award winner 2024 with Stylecraft and NGV

Marta Figueiredo with her work Chronicles of Resilience, photograph by Melissa Hobbs.

The Australian Furniture Design Award, complete with $20,000 prize, has gone to Australian-Portuguese architect and multidisciplinary designer, Marta Figueiredo. Presented by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and Stylecraft, it celebrates the most interesting and innovative furniture and lighting design being created in Australia today.

Selected from a shortlist of ambitious new work, Figueiredo’s Chronicles of Resilience cabinet is a personal and vulnerable work that highlights women’s health, with a focus on endometriosis, and is designed as a tangible platform for advocacy to bring attention to the complexities of a chronic illness that affects one in seven women in Australia.

Photograph by Ben Moynihan.

The cabinet features three rotating drums, each detailed with tiles decorated in a workshop run by Figueiredo with a group of women experiencing endometriosis. The cabinet’s facade is segmented into four vertical thematic panels – Challenge, Resilience, Empowerment, and Imagined Future – each carefully designed to represent different complexities and nuances of the stages of the endometriosis journey.

The design infuses the spirit of Figueiredo’s Portuguese heritage and the principles of furniture typologies around the world, including the Portuguese and Brazilian Oratorio Domestico (narrative-driven cabinets and furnishings) and the Japanese Butsudan (shrine).

In addition to the $20,000, Figueiredo will be invited to develop a commercial range or product with Stylecraft, as well as a two-week residency at the JamFactory in Adelaide.

“Marta Figueiredo’s Chronicles of Resilience cabinet is a deeply personal and symbolic work that draws attention to women’s health,” says Ewan McEoin, Jury Chair and Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture at the NGV. “It is exciting that this year the Australian Furniture Design Award has a winner that is using the medium of furniture as a platform to discuss women’s health. This is an adventurous and courageous piece – and we look forward to seeing it ignite important conversations.”

Anthony Collins, CEO at Stylecraft, adds: “Amidst the challenges encountered by emerging furniture designers breaking into the industry, the Australian Furniture Design Award offers a promising gateway within the Australian design community. AFDA provides a nurturing environment for new talent, presenting an invaluable opportunity to gain visibility and support in the industry.”

The 2024 recipient was selected by a jury of industry leaders comprising Ewan McEoin, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture at the NGV (Chair); Tony Russell, Brand Director at Stylecraft, Melbourne; Anne-Claire Petre, Founder Anaca Studio, Melbourne; Hamish Guthrie co-director Hecker Guthrie, Melbourne; and Elliat Rich, Alice Springs-based designer and previous Award winner.

Now in its fifth iteration, the Award seeks to recognise outstanding new design ideas, critical and creative thinking, sustainability, material development, and research that explores innovative production processes.

Shortlisted designers for the 2024 Australian Furniture Design Award included Bala Ga’ Lili – Bonhula Yunupingu and Damien Wright, Michael Gittings, Nae Tanakorn, and supermanoeuvre + Tomkins Design, Meanwhile, previous winners include Sydney-based designer, Seaton McKeon, who 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. In 2020, Sydney-based industrial designer James Walsh won, impressing the jury with Anthropic bench, which combined rammed earth with recycled glass filings to produce a sustainable and hard-wearing composite. Most recently, Ashley Eriksmoen received the award in 2022 with The Dream, or: the view from here is both bleak and resplendent – a signature work that conveys the potential of postconsumer waste for transformation and reuse.

The Award was presented as part of Melbourne Design Week, while the companion exhibition is on display until May 31st at Stylecraft Showroom, 145 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

The Australian Furniture Design Award is presented by the NGV and Stylecraft with the competition process developed and delivered by CityLab.



More furniture and object design at MDW 2024

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