This years Australian Contemporary Emerging (ACE) Design Award judges Holger
Dielenberg, Jan Henderson and Michael Hayes were most impressed with the quality no less the quantity of the entries into the awards for
2015. The professionalism of the designs in many of the submissions was a credit to the makers and made choosing a winner extremely difficult.

To say that there is talent among our emerging product design students and emerging designers is an understatement and we applaud all who are working to realize their dreams.

To those who have not achieved an accolade we say,

“There can only be one winner but your designs are inspirational so keep working and designing to perfect your craft and don’t give up. “

To the winners we congratulate you all. Your products have exceeded the brief and you have excelled in your class.

Before the award winners are announced each of the judges wanted to highlight a designer and product that in their opinion was worthy of note. Although they have not been recognised with a category or special award these designs were exceptional and the judges wanted to recognise this.

Jan Henderson was delighted by Christie Stewart’s Mirage chair. She said, “The
chair is a beautifully resolved design that favours a Danish aesthetic but has a character of it’s own. The lines are smooth and perfectly formed and
the overall design outstanding.

This is a chair that is sophisticated, modern and beautiful and it’s quite amazing to know that it was designed by a student. I’d love to have this at my dining table or as an occasional chair in my living room as it is a stand out piece.”

Michael Hayes commented on Alby Johnston’s Lotus Table coffee table. There
is great craftsmanship and attention to detail in this piece. I felt the need to commend this table as it shows a level of joinery and detail that
needs to be noted.

Holger Dielenberg remarked on Zev Bianchi’s chair Zev. Zev Bianchi’s future
proof design for a flat packed chair is a brilliant concept in its simplicity. Using minimal material and minimal saw cuts this chair smashes economic
rationalism and demonstrates how sustainable considerations can become thoughtful design. We encourage Zev to take this idea to the next level. Well

Creative Vision Award

This award recognizes a piece that successfully ties together the main elements of design. It recognizes a piece that is visually mature. This piece does not have to be finished to completion, but must be developed to prototype. Additional engineering and production design may be required to bring the work from prototype to be viable for completion to sale.

And the winners are:

Student: Andrew Beveridge for Formu Coffee

Designed for contemporary living spaces, the FORMU coffee links function and form while maintaining simplicity. The cleverly designed curved metal legs double as magazine racks large enough to hold large books to records.

The timber top is cut from Tasmanian Blackwood which was bound to be wood chipped. This is a very well resolved design that is visually appealing and very functional.

Emerging Designer: Kianoosh Kavoosi for Orbit Table

Orbit hits its design brief – a simplicity of form intended for clean, minimal, sophisticated spaces and suitable for a variety of domestic or commercial settings.

The table top is constructed with a series of eccentric circles supported by three angular legs. The combination of wood and metal denoting sustainability and strength.

A positive feature of the design is that with simple modifications it can be used for various applications and its clever construction methods negate the need for complex, time-consuming machine processes. The judges thought it was brilliant!

Craftsmanship Award

This award recognizes the piece that not only incorporates great design but also demonstrates high levels of difficulty and quality of craftsmanship in its production. This award acknowledges not only the design ability of the maker but also the complexity and investment of time and skill required to produce the piece. And the winners are:

Student: Frank Pricone for Leather Top

Frank undertook the design and construction of this fine leather topped desk as a test to improve his skills as a furniture maker. You passed Frank!

Leather Top is contemporary with a Scandinavian influence constructed from American Walnut for its colour and interesting grain, leather for balance and brass pins for decoration and to hold down the desk top. Despite its simplicity, construction was complex and demonstrates both attention to the fine detail and excellent craftsmanship.

…and Darren Palmer loved it!

Emerging Designer: Adam Markowitz for Flea Chair

The Flea is a stackable dining or side chair of Blackbutt sourced from sustainably managed forests in Victoria. It is designed with the notion of “less is more” in mind and looks at what is redundant in a dining chair and strips it away.

With The Flea, Adam has successfully blended traditional joinery techniques with contemporary digital technology to achieve a robust but light weight appearance. Excellent!

Cutting Edge Award

This Award is selected from all finalists. It recognizes a piece that has true innovation in its design, production, marketability or potential for development. This piece does not have to be the most resolved in other areas or the best, but it must display and show the most innovative solution in its intent. The piece could require further work to bring it to market standards and or to completion for sale, however it shows promise led by its innovative idea.

The Cutting Edge Award winner is: Kristina Mienikova for Moxie Chair

The brief for the Moxie was a chair that makes strong connections - physical, emotional, intellectual, even spiritual– with a wide audience. The concept also had to be suitable for mass production. The Moxie is striking to look at, soft and inviting to sit in, and smooth and pleasant to touch.

Moxie is innovative in its production with the chair’s structure supported by a zig zag stainless steel frame covered in molded polyurethane foam.

Steel and polyurethane are resilient and durable materials meant to last, however, end of life disassembly has also been built into the design. Stainless steel is treated to allow easy separation and recycling and the polyurethane can simply be ground or be broken down chemically to its original components.

Well done Kristina! The Moxie is a striking piece, innovative in its design, production and use of materials.

Gold Award

This Awards is also selected from all finalists. It reflects a piece that covers all the major elements of design, manufacturing and market relevance. It does not have to be the best in all of these categories, however, it must meet all of these requirements in an overall sense. That is, it is a well resolved and complete design.

The GOLD Award winner has not come from the winners of other categories as the judges felt this design answered both the craftsmanship and the design aspects that puts this piece in a class of it’s own.

And the winner is: Vince Cosentino for The Cone

The “Cone” speakers are designed to complement any sound system, but with a difference. They are a piece of sculpture to be proudly displayed and admired.

The design brief was to bring some of the technology back to some fundamentals of sound physics. The horn or cone is a natural sound amplifier and one of the fundamental solids of geometry.

The “Cone” speakers address these design fundamentals as well as the physical stability of a round cone on a flat surface. By carving out the speaker eccentrically to make the cone heavier on one side, it naturally always rolls to the same orientation. Very clever!

The housing material is made from recycled Australian White Cyprus Pine from sustainably managed plantations for the housing industry.

Sound production is through electronic speakers housed internally.

The “Cone” speakers are a beautifully designed synthesis of modern technology and skillfully crafted recycled timber. They tick all the boxes and sound good to boot!

People’s Choice

Power to the people... This is the key message behind the Australian Furniture Industry People's Choice Award - That's right – the Australian Public decide who wins. This year all Nominated pieces featured at FURNITEX connect where visitors were able to vote for their favourites in each category culminating in tonight’s announcement of the People’s Choice for the best of the best in Australian made furniture.

This award represents a brilliant marketing opportunity for the winner as it reflects consumer demand for the product.

And the winner is Grain Stool by Callum Campbell and Jack Flanagan

For more details on the awards contact the AFA on 03 9856 1600 or email

For images or to request hires please contact above