National Furniture Design Competition winner announced

After a nationwide search, the Gordon Russell Design Museum has awarded their inaugural Furniture Design Competition prize to Arash Shahbaz, MA Vehicle Design student at the Royal College of Art.

Inspired by Gordon Russell’s design philosophy, the competition called for innovative designs for a machine made chair and was open to students aged 16 or over in full or part time education. The museum received an array of stimulating and creative submissions from students across a range of disciplines, including textiles, engineering, product design and furniture making. Despite stiff competition, the judging panel was unanimous in awarding Arash Shahbaz the £1,000 prize for his design, the BZI Chair.

With lounge chair proportions, Arash Shahbaz’s design is suitable for manufacture in a variety of materials – including acrylic, wood and carbon fibre – and for use in different settings. The distinctive shape was inspired by Karl Blossfeldt’s black and white photographs of geometry in plants. As Sean Feeney, Furniture Maker and competition judge explains: “The BZI chair is a stunning, structurally sophisticated design which clearly demonstrates precise knowledge of manufacturing and production techniques.”

Arash Shahbaz was presented with the prize by Ray Leigh MBE, Museum Trustee and former Chairman of Gordon Russell Ltd, at the Furniture Makers Hall, London.

On winning the prize Arash Shahbaz said: ”First of all I am very thankful and happy to have won this design competition. As a final year MA Vehicle Design student at The Royal College of Art I mainly focus on the future of mobility, so I really enjoyed working on this project because it allowed me to work on something new. The feedback provided by the jury has been very helpful in further developing and maturing the design. Most of all I’m very happy to be involved in the process of manufacturing a prototypes and future events and exhibition at the Gordon Russell Design Museum.” He added: “I believe this will be a very helpful experience in building my career. The funding of £1000 is a very generous gift which I will be using to fund my final year’s tuition.”

The winning design will go on display at the Gordon Russell Design Museum this summer, and the museum will continue to work with Arash Shahbaz to support the development and possible manufacture of the design.

Verity Elson, Curator adds: “The prize is part of the museum’s ongoing commitment to inspire the next generation of furniture designers and is a wonderful opportunity for us to build on Gordon Russell’s legacy as a champion of design and education. We are delighted to award the prize to Arash Shahbaz, and would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who submitted designs for the competition.”

The next Gordon Russell Design Museum competition will be launched in 2019.