The Furniture Industry Research Association launched details of a new design competition to support new talent to / within the furniture industry. The competition will close with finalists being showcased at Clerkenwell Design Week (19-21 May 2020) and the winners being announced at the event.

The competition is open to designers with less than three years in the furniture industry and all undergraduate students studying on furniture, design or architecture related courses in a UK university.

Due to the close connection with Clerkenwell Design Week, the 2020 Vision Design Competition is all centered around contract furniture, with the aim of encouraging creativity and invention in reducing the impact of furniture on the world. Entrants must base their design around an item of furniture for the commercial sector (i.e. office, workspace, hospitality etc.), and it should fall into one of the following categories:

  • A new piece of furniture capable of being reused, remanufactured or repurposed
  • An existing product/material (whether furniture or not) that can be reused, remanufactured or repurposed as a piece of furniture for its second life.

 Sustainability is very much at the heart of the competitions brief and entrants are encouraged to consider issues such as:

  • Innovative materials
  • Design for remanufacture
  • The use of materials and resources, whether in the design or manufacture of the product.

Speaking on the launch of the new 2020 Vision Design Competition, Phil Reynolds, chief operating officer of the Furniture Industry Research Association, said “We’re very excited to be launching this new design competition, and it also shows the wider role of the Research Association. We’re not just here to support those who are established in the industry and who rely on us for knowledge, but we also exist to nurture new talent and give them a solid start to their career.

“In terms of the brief, to reduce our impact on the environment we have to reduce our use of valuable natural resources, transition from a throwaway culture and simply make things last longer. The furniture industry can take a leading role in this, but in order for this to happen we need to see a step-change from both the industry and consumers.

“2020 Vision aims to encourage those new to the industry to use their imagination, knowledge of materials and design to deliver an idea which is remanufactured or remanufacturable. Through showcasing the finalists at Clerkenwell Design Week we’re hoping to inspire others to see what is possible through innovation.”

 The expert judging panel for the design competition includes:

  • Jay Blades, furniture up-cycler and presenter of the BBC’s ‘Money for nothing’ and ‘The repair shop’
  • Jason Brown, Director of Design & Development, Knightsbridge Furniture Productions Ltd
  • Jessica-Christin Hametner, Editor, OnOffice Magazine
  • Max Fraser, Content Editor, 100% Design and Clerkenwell Design Week
  • Priya Khanchandani, Editor, ICON Magazine 

Competition prizes include a £5000 fund alongside a trip to Blum’s manufacturing operation in Austria. Furthermore, and depending on the design of the winning entry, Knightsbridge Furniture Productions Ltd will support in the bringing the entry to life.

Further details on the design competition are available from or via