The Furniture Makers’ Company, the furnishing industry’s charity, is launching a national competition in partnership with leading tool supplier Axminster Tools & Machinery for a student to make a piece of furniture that will be displayed in Axminster stores across the UK.

The Axminster Design and Make Competition launches in September 2017, in conjunction with the new academic year and will ask students from 20 partnered universities to create a piece of innovative wooden furniture.

Students will be required to submit sketches and CAD illustration of their proposed designs and then 10 shortlisted students will be given three months to create their concept with the materials being sponsored by Axminster. 

The finalists will be judged by Dr Tony Smart MBE, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company; Alan Styles, managing director at Axminster Tools & Machinery; Alex Crofts, training and education chairman at The Furniture Makers’ Company; Rupert Senior, guild mark chairman at The Furniture Makers’ Company; Damilola Bamidele, grants & education manager at The Furniture Makers’ Company; and the editor of Furniture & Cabinet Making magazine.

Sebastian Banwell, Coffee Table - Joint Winner overall School Design Prize

The lucky winner will be announced at a national furnishing industry event and win a £1000 Axminster voucher, a work placement with the company and have their winning piece showcased on rotation in all eight of Axminster’s stores. The second place will receive a £500 voucher. There will also be a £100 voucher each for a further five runners-up.

Dr Tony Smart MBE, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The Axminster Design & Make Competition is a superb opportunity for students to put the skills they’ve learnt at university to practical use and develop a piece of furniture that they think conveys innovation. We can’t thank our partner and sponsor, Axminster Tools & Machinery, enough for funding this exciting competition that will give young makers around the UK the chance to bring a design to life and have it showcased on a national level through its stores and publicised by The Furniture Makers’ Company.”

Alan Styles, managing director at Axminster Tools & Machinery, said: “Once again we are delighted to be able to work with and support The Furniture Makers’ Company. The Company continually carries out invaluable work and the Design & Make Competition is just one example of how they help, nurture and promote promising young furniture makers. I feel honoured to have been asked to be one of the judges for this competition and am looking forward to seeing some high quality, innovative pieces of furniture.”

Applicants must be over the age of 18 and in full or part time education at the time of entry. The deadline for entries is Friday 26th January 2018.

More information about the competition, including the design brief, is available to download from