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Meet the judges: Lucy Kurrein

Design Guild Mark - January 14, 2022 - 0 comments

Injecting new blood into the Furniture category, designer and Design Guild Mark holder Lucy Kurrein is joining our distinguished line-up of judges in 2022.

Lucy is a furniture designer specialising in upholstery. Born in 1985, she grew up in Yorkshire in the north of England. She took her art foundation course at Leeds College of Art before moving to Buckinghamshire to study furniture design. After graduating, Lucy worked for furniture designer Matthew Hilton then design consultancy PearsonLloyd, before founding her own studio in 2013.

She was quickly recognised as Newcomer of the Year 2014 at the Mixology Awards and Young Designer of the Year 2015 by Homes and Gardens. Her work has been published in Architectural Digest, Wallpaper*, OnOffice, Elle Decoration, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde, and exhibited in London, Milan, Paris, New York and Hong Kong. She teaches design at Kingston University and has spoken at Nottingham Trent University, Central Saint Martins, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Bucks University and the Building Crafts College.  Her clients include SCP, Capdell, Joined + Jointed, Molinari, Offecct, and Heal’s. She divides her time between Paris and London, where she has a studio in a community of creative businesses housed in shipping containers overlooking the River Thames.

We caught up with Lucy to ask her some questions we ask all our judges.

What first turned you on to a career in the design world?

I had always been captivated by large scale sculpture, having grown up in Leeds around Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth’s legacy. I loved drawing and knew I wanted to go to art college. After one term, my tutors reviewed my drawings and declared with unanimous certainty that I would be a three-dimensional designer. Furniture appealed to me because I could see it afforded a degree of artistic expression while bringing joy to everyday life for lots of people.


Can you sum up in a few words what design excellence means to you?

Excellent design stirs within you a feeling of joy. It connects with you at first glance and that connection never fades – and even deepens if you use and live with the object. Dieter Rams’ “10 principles for good design” is great guidance for physical design excellence, and we can use this like a checklist, but I am particularly preoccupied by the principle of longevity – not just physically but emotionally. This is the more subjective part of design where I believe the unique sensibility of the designer is key.


What outside factor is having the biggest impact on design at present?

The climate crisis is having a huge impact on how designers and producers are thinking. I am interested to see how the DGM designers and producers are responding to the sustainability imperative. The genuine solutions are not always so direct and context is important – a focus on design excellence and longevity should be central.

What are you hoping to see from the 2022 Design Guild Mark applications?

For me there’s always something compelling about how humans choose to manipulate materials, not just to solve a problem but to express themselves. I look forward to meeting designers who are in touch with our cultural landscape, but who are also in touch with themselves– with work that displays some bold, unapologetic and personal thinking.


What tip would you give a designer coming in to present at the judging day?

Be prepared, but try to relax and be yourself. I think it’s important we get to know you, as well as your product, so don’t forget to introduce yourself. This is an opportunity to share your passion with an open-minded, experienced crowd who are thrilled to listen to what you have to say.


What is the future of design?

A perfect future would be one where consumers choose the sustainable option without knowing it, where joy is still the central purpose of design.


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