The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the economy, with the furniture sector also feeling the pinch.
The long-term impact can only be surmised for now, but with the UK now officially in recession, it would be fair if you thought the outlook was bleak. Now more than ever we need to celebrate and support British businesses.
Since its launch over 10 years ago, the Design Guild Mark has championed British design excellence, either designers at British-based design practices or British designers working abroad.
Although any manufacturer from around the world can produce a Design Guild Mark awarded product, the UK has a long, well-founded international reputation as furniture makers of absolute regard.
In the spirit of patriotism and commending the fine talent we have on this green and pleasant land, this month we want to tip our caps to the British furniture/furnishing manufacturers out there that are supporting the national and local economies and providing jobs to the many skilled craftspeople that make up the UK furnishing industry.
All five companies listed below are manufacturers of Design Guild Mark awarded pieces and represent what is great about the British industry.
Bisley designs and provides high-quality, reliable furniture for every working environment. From the humble beginnings of car body repairs in 1931, Bisley began meeting the needs of workplaces in the 1940s. The company produces over 15,000 items per week from its factory in Wales. From the iconic Design Guild Mark awarded MultiDrawer (pictured) to Be by Bisley to Stage, Bisley’s extensive range of furniture is helping people across the world be comfortable and effective, wherever they are working.
After graduating from Parnham College for furniture makers, Sean Sutcliffe had a dream of launching his own furniture workshop and was inspired by his travels around Denmark to bring industry and employment to a rural community. It was at this time that he met Sir Terence Conran and a firm friendship was made over a shared interest in making, wood, design and sustainability. They founded Benchmark together and its workshop and showroom are situated in the grounds of Terence’s country home. The company began with just three people; today they are a highly skilled team of 70, with workshops in Berkshire and Dorset. Benchmark’s last Design Guild Mark success was the Aphelion Console by Byron and Gomez, awarded in 2018.
Boss Design’s story began in 1983 when the company chairman and founder, Brian Murray, had a vision for a commercial furniture company that would set itself apart from all others. Brian’s mission was to redefine how commercial space works, introducing a range of high-quality products and solutions that would bear all the hallmarks of British engineering, craftsmanship and cutting-edge design. Today, over 30 years later, Boss Design is revered the world over for its pioneering developments and staunch ethical standards. Pictured is 2012 award winner, the Magic Stool by David Fox.
Lucian R Ercolani founded ercol in 1920 in the heartland of English furniture making. He was intent on designing and producing beautiful and honest furniture, both design and people were the cornerstones of his company from the very beginning. This remains true of the family owned, private company that continues his beliefs in the 21st Century with the company celebrating 100 years in 2020. Along with its in-house design team ercol also collaborates with external UK and international designers. The Marino sofa by designer Dylan Freeth, awarded the Mark in 2016, is pictured.
Morgan Furniture is a wholly British, design orientated, business making seating and tables for the contract market from its dedicated 4,500m2 factory in Hampshire. Morgan believe the design and manufacture of truly original, high-quality furniture is the result of passion, care, design integrity, experience, craftsmanship and an unfaltering dedication to quality. This commitment could not be realised without fully integrating the design and manufacturing processes. Morgan has won numerous Design Guild Marks over the years but pictured is one of our favourites – the striking Rio Table, a collaboration between Morgan Studio and studio INTEGRATE.