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Recycled materials elegantly resolved comprise the winner of the AFDA 2020

From Australia’s top furniture designers James Walsh has been given the 2020 Australian Furniture Design Award for his design, the Anthropic Bench.

Sydney-based industrial designer and RMIT graduate James Walsh has taken out the top spot for the 2020 Australian Furniture Design Awards (ADFA) presented by Stylecraft and for the first time in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria. As the winner, James will receive a $20,000 cash prize; support from Stylecraft for the design, production and distribution of a furniture design; and a two-week residency at JamFactory in Adelaide.

Back in March as part of the Melbourne Design Week 2020, five finalists were invited to exhibit their designs at the Stylecraft showroom in Melbourne’s CBD. Following the exhibition and in line with restrictions at the time came a period of online judging.

James’s entry, the Anthropic Bench, combines rammed earth, glass filings and a timber seat. The resulting piece is both sustainable and hardwearing, making use of natural resources as well as recycling what would otherwise be considered waste and end up in landfill. The design resolve and elegant assembly creates visual appeal quite apart from the social responsibility to which it quite clearly responds.

“James Walsh is representative of the exemplary standards we have come to expect from Australia’s top furniture designers,” said Simone LeAmon, Jury Chair and The Hugh Williamson Curator of Contemporary Design and Architecture, National Gallery of Victoria.

“The AFDA jury was unanimous in their applause of Walsh’s furniture design, recognising the designer’s ambition to investigate meaningful and practical uses for glass that would otherwise end up in landfill, while delivering a new and novel aesthetic experience for furniture design that successfully merges the past with present,” said LeAmon.

AFDA is open to all Australian designers and makers. It was founded in 2015 by Stylecraft and in the years since has become one of the foremost furniture design awards recognising local talent and the contribution of furniture design to Australian culture and wider design discourse.

“Stylecraft are proud to be involved in such a prestigious award that fosters Australian designers and makers through professional mentoring and commercial production opportunities. We look forward to collaborating with James on a new collection that aligns with the sustainable practices and contemporary aesthetic demonstrated in his winning design,” said Stylecraft Brand Director, Tony Russell.

Exhibition photography by Tom Ross

Product photography by James Ross

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