KI Europe sponsored the Mixology13 Student Furniture Designer of the Year. The award is open to any person enrolled on a recognised furniture design course in the UK. This year’s award went to Kathryn Sumroy of Buckinghamshire New University for her innovative design for The Ribbon Shelf and Timber Stack.
Jonathan Hindle, Group Managing Director of KI in the E.M.E.A commented: “KI are delighted to be recognising and supporting emerging talent once again. Never has there been a more important time to encourage design talent to work in the furniture industry.”
Lynn Jones, Head of Academic Department – Furniture at Bucks New University, also added: “Kathryn's award is so well deserved. As a second-year student still only in the middle of her degree course, she has shown exceptional design ability and creative awareness. Her work has an almost gentle spirit to it. Her pieces are so finely thought through and carefully designed to complement and respect the spaces they inhabit. Quietly beautiful aesthetically and very skilfully crafted, there is a serenity and professionalism to Kathryn’s work that is not often achieved by a student at this level.”
Kathryn Sumroy’s pieces explore memory and history. The Ribbon Shelf is a magnetised, leather-clad, steel shelf that captures memories through its changing form. Each configuration produces different opportunities to ‘hold’ objects that are triggers to key moments in our lives. Additionally, the curation of the shelf itself enables the collaborations and conversations that create pathways to memory.
The Timber Stack unlocks the unique history of timber transportation on The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, for a new generation. The interrelationships between the planks create spaces to sit, climb, or rest your shopping. Different seating heights remove the power imbalance between adults and children, prevalent in public places. The Timber Stack has been commissioned by Taylor Wimpey and Chelmsford City Council.
Kathryn Sumroy, BA (Hons) Furniture: Design and Craft student, at Bucks New University commented: “Memory and history have dominated my work this year. I'm interested in how physical objects can help us to remember events in our own lives or can serve as visual clues to the history of a place, particularly where, without intervention, the stories may be lost. Human stories are what really inspire me - not on a grand scale but in everyday life. The men off loading timber from canal barges on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation which inspired the Timber Stack; or the lichen covered branches and broken edged flints that have caught the eye of my children on a walk in the woods and now have a home on our Ribbon Shelf. Winning a Mixology award like this, supported by KI, is obviously a huge boost in terms of confidence and future business development, but as a student there are more subtle benefits.
Learning how best to explain your work to a huge variety of people, thinking hard about where you are heading, even practical lessons around how to transport and exhibit your work. These are just as valuable as the success itself.”
Rowena Dodd and Sang A Choi also from Bucks New University were shortlisted for the furniture products they have designed.
Rowena Dodd had submitted two pieces: the Rag Rug Trolley and Swivel Bench. The Rag Rug trolley was an experimental piece that explores alternative methods for upholstery. Whilst Swivel Bench is a flexible, versatile piece of furniture that can be used within a public space.
Sang A Choi's entry was a chest of drawers with the concept behind the cabinet being shadow and therefore the slanted drawers represent the shadow.
Kathryn Sumroy will use her final year exploring the implications of neuroscientific research into memory, on the future of design.