2017 Winner Announced

Stylecraft and JamFactory are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2017 Australian Furniture Design Award is Alice Springs based designer Elliat Rich.

Elliat Rich completed a Bachelor of Design with first class honours at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in Sydney in 2006. She works across a broad range of design projects for a diverse client base including cross-cultural resources, exhibition design, public art and furniture, product development, one-off exhibition and limited run objects. In 2014 Elliat and her partner launched Elbowrkshp, a studio, retail space and workshop they share with other creative professionals.

Elliat was chosen from the six finalists who were shortlisted from over 100 entrants. The finalists were flown to Adelaide to present their prototypes to the judging panel consisting of Jon Goulder, Creative Director Furniture Design Studio, JamFactory; Tony Russell, Brand Director, Stylecraft; Rebecca Evans, Curator of Decorative Arts, Art Gallery of South Australia; Stephen Todd, Design Editor, Australian Financial Review Magazine; Susan Standring, Practice Director, Carr Design Group. Through the intensive process the judges were specifically looking for originality, innovation and evidence of the designer’s professional capability.

Her winning work titled Place, could be described as a sculptural vanity – a kind of old-fashioned object evoking feminine ritual. The unit, which was fabricated for her by Oscar Prieckaerts in Sydney has a neatly concealed draw constructed from stacked and coloured dowel, a removable storage container and a velvet-covered pivoting mirror – all of which perch atop fine timber legs. The colours, textures and sense of foreground, middle ground and background in the piece have all been informed by her many journeys driving across the Central Australian landscape.

Against a highly competitive field, the judges were impressed by Elliat’s conceptual approach and how where she lives informs what she does – they noted that work was poetic, strong, innovative and brave. Stephen Todd commented that with this work she was, ‘swimming against the tide, elegantly’.

As the winner of this important biennial award, Elliat receives $20,000 in cash and the opportunity to undertake a residency in JamFactory’s Furniture Studio to develop new work to a specific breif for commercial production and distribution through Stylecraft showrooms across Australia and Singapore. Rich will receive royalty income from the work developed for as long as it remains in production.

In addition, Rich’s winning prototype Place, will be acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia for its permanent collection.

This prototype, along with those of the other five finalists, will be on display at JamFactory until 16 July and then at Stylecraft showrooms in Melbourne and Sydney over the next two months.

The other finalists were Trent Jansen, NSW; Mitchel Eaton, VIC; James Howe, SA; Adam Markowitz, VIC; and Damien Wright and Bonhula Yunupingu, VIC and NT.