BFM pushes the boat out in design competition
British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) pushed the boat out at this year's annual Heico Design Awards when they announced the winner of the competition's first ever 'most production friendly' category.
Second year upholstery student Robert Davey was awarded the prize for his chair which, with the back down, became a long nosed speed boat. Robert also took a runners' up prize in the overall competition which sets students the challenge of creating a chair design inspired by Heico's range of furniture and upholstery products.
For the first time in the competition's eight year history, the BFM also sponsored a prize for the design most likely to be commercially viable. As BFM md Jackie Bazeley pointed out: "This aspect of design does not tend to be part of the curriculum and we felt this award would encourage students to design a product with an eye to its production possibilities."
Stuart Elmy, marketing manager for Heico, said “We are really pleased that the BFM has got involved in this year’s competition and we really appreciate their support with this new category. The students have really responded well to this additional aspect and I look forward to the associations continued involvement as the competition enters its ninth successful year.”
Robert was inspired to make his ‘boat' by the speedboat made by his just-retired father. He said: "Dad had just built a boat along the lines of the ones you see in Venice. He sourced his own wood and built it in mahogany and beech - and I thought not only would the shape be an interesting one to transfer on to a chair design, but the colours could work well too, transferred onto vinyl. The most challenging part of the project was sewing the different coloured strips into the vinyl."
More than 30 students from three Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF) recognised training centres entered the competition: 12 of these were then selected for production and the winners' announced on the Heico stand at The January Furniture Show where the best designs were put on display throughout the exhibition. Robert is a student with the Essex-based Upholstery Skills Centre.
Said Jackie: "Part of our remit at the BFM is to promote and highlight the production side of the industry and Robert's design was, we felt, the concept which could best be developed in terms of its production possibilities."
Robert's reward for winning the BFM category prize will be a trip to a British furniture manufacturer’s production plant.