The Furniture Awards 2024 winners revealed at JFS!
Last night, at an after-party at the NEC Birmingham convened for the January Furniture Show’s exhibitors and attendees, the winners of The Furniture Awards 2024 were revealed.
Exhibiting suppliers were asked to put forward their case in one of five categories, and their entries were assessed by a panel chaired by awards co-ordinator Paul Farley (editor-in-chief, Furniture News), and comprising Malcolm Walker (owner, FIRST MW), Sarah Bianchi (MD, Arighi Bianchi), Alice Rowan Hall (founder, Rowen Homes), Peter Harding (MD, Fairway Furniture), and furniture designer Adam Daghorn.
The following entrants came out on top:
Best of British
Winner: Alpha Designs Upholstery
Alpha Designs is a rare example of how a relative newcomer can make an impact in an industry dominated by long-established names. Having started life in a unit in Bilston in 2010, Alpha Designs now runs two fully operational factories, employs some 200 people and makes around 2000 sofas each week, fuelled by an in-house design and development team. Flying the flag for British-made upholstery, and demonstrating that young blood and fresh ideas can make a difference, Alpha Designs is an inspiration.
Highly Commended: Lebus Upholstery
Lebus is the UK’s largest manufacturer of value upholstery. Based in Scunthorpe, Lebus makes over 10,000 seats each week, and employs close to 500 members of staff. In 2021, it become employee owned. Admirable for its progressive outlook, Lebus has embraced a new attitude and design handwriting, ensuring it remains an industry favourite.
Qualita’s story has it all – cost engineering, manufacturing efficiency, effective fulfilment partnerships, and eminently commercial product. Supplementing its modern manufacturing facility in Lithuania, Qualita works closely with third-party manufacturers across the globe, enabling it to meet demand in the most appropriate manner. In the UK, its Qualita, Stockholm and Shadows collections represent a varied cabinet furniture portfolio with oak at its heart – and the business also operates across Europe, and further afield, fuelled by its impressive licensing deal with Laura Ashley.
Highly Commended: Tomasella Industria Mobili
Highly commended in this category for a second year running, Tomasella boasts a tradition of innovation and excellence dating back to 1948, and today offers custom-built, well-marketed furniture on rapid turnaround times. The Italian company recently opened a 110,000 sqft automated facility and distribution warehouse specifically for the US and UK markets, demonstrating significant scalability potential.
A technical agency specialising in web-based business solutions, Iconography boasts a growing roster of satisfied customers, and its recent project for Haskins Furniture demonstrates just how much the operations behind furniture retail can be streamlined by embracing an integrated IT system with the right partner. With capabilities spanning ecommerce, operations, store and stock management, and a view on front-end performance as much as back-end efficiency, Iconography also shines for its excellent customer service and industry-specific expertise.
Winner: Whitemeadow Furniture
Classy, high-spec and functional, Whitemeadow’s latest models reflect just part of what makes Sutton-in-Ashfield’s upholstery giant a design powerhouse. Whitemeadow’s design studio has a knack for creating commercially viable product that hits the right price points, often putting new slants on old ideas, but always among the first to embrace new approaches, with an eye on the next generation of furniture designers.
Highly Commended: A.L.F. UNO
The stylish new Hera collection from A.L.F. is just the tip of the iceberg. At its impressive factory and design centre, the Italian innovator employs modern materials and components to deliver cost-effective furniture fit for many of today’s homes.
No businesses were shortlisted in the Sustainability category this year.
The Furniture Awards were established by Furniture News and the January Furniture Show in 2015, to celebrate the furniture industry’s champions.
“This year’s winners reflect what makes our industry so special,” says Paul Farley. “Anyone quick to dismiss the trade as slow-paced or insular should just look at what some of the best among us are accomplishing. They may not always shout about it, but our top players truly deserve celebration through accolades like The Furniture Awards.
“Thanks again to our judging panel for taking the time to assess each entrant’s story, and for offering valuable context for their achievements – and well done to everyone shortlisted, and to this year’s winners in particular.”
The Furniture Awards will return for 2025, but in the meantime, find out more about why these businesses emerged triumphant in the March issue of Furniture News.