The American Society of Furniture Designers recently announced its call for applications for the 2017 Pinnacle Awards. For over two decades, this awards program has showcased many of the most outstanding designs and creative minds in the furniture industry. Here’s everything you need to know about this longstanding industry tradition:
What are the Pinnacle Awards?
Created by the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) in 1995, the Pinnacle Awards highlight excellent products and talented professionals in the retail home furnishings industry. Each year, the awards program recognizes the most impressive designs in a variety of industry categories, selecting only pieces that are currently in production and widely available to consumers via major retail furniture showrooms, online retailers, and catalogs. In doing so, the society honors the individual furniture designers who have drawn on their artistry and creativity to create today’s leading styles.
The Pinnacle Awards recognize designers in 15 categories, including Accessories, Casual Dining, Formal Dining, Summer/Casual, Bedroom, Home Office, Lighting, and Stationary Upholstery. In 2010, the ASFD added a new distinction available to entrants in each of its existing award categories. The Green Leaf Award is a special honor that specifically recognizes designs that are not only aesthetically impressive, but also sustainable and eco-friendly. Products competing for this award must meet a number of green design criteria: they must be made of at least 20 percent CARB-compliant materials, at least 50 percent of the manufacturing must be local, and they must contain a high percentage of recycled and reclaimed components. The awards also give special consideration to pieces made entirely of reclaimed or recycled material, 100 percent local materials, or solid wood containing no composite or at least 50 percent FSC-certified wood.
Also open to aspiring furniture industry professionals, the Pinnacle Awards recently established its Student Awards program. This category accepts entries from current design students, assessing pieces in the bedroom, dining, home office, seating, entertainment, and occasional categories.
The Pinnacle Awards program has gradually grown in popularity since its establishment and has enjoyed a particular surge in popularity in recent years. In 2016, the event saw record engagement and was able to provide an unprecedented amount of exposure for its finalists. Highlighted pieces included the elegant Zhin Cabinet by Aimee Kurzner ASFD, a designer at Currey and Company; the Aiden Acrylic Bed by Laura Niece ASFD for Bernhardt Furniture; and Rudy Nijssen and Dominique Sente’s Brass Universe Chandelier, a joint design completed for Schwung Home.
Commenting on this year’s award program, 2017 Pinnacle Awards chair Jason Phillips stated, “We had an extraordinarily creative group of designers recognized at the 2016 Pinnacle Awards and look forward to honoring the remarkable work of this year’s top industry designers.”
Who is hosting the program?
The American Society of Furniture Designers is a national industry association that, since its inception in 1981, has advocated for “excellence, innovation, education, and originality” in the furniture design industry. The ASFD advocates for the professional community, upholds standards of professionalism and integrity, and seeks to showcase the value of design within the broader home furnishings industry.
Assisting the ASFD in the presentation of the 22nd annual Pinnacle Awards is lead sponsor Furniture Today. Additional sponsors including High Point Market Authority, Furniture.com, Sherwin-Williams Corp., and Furniture Design Studios.
When and where is it taking place?
On January 23, the American Society of Furniture Designers announced the opening of its submissions website for the 2017 Pinnacle Awards. The organization will continue accepting nominations until 5 p.m. on July 1, after which time it will announce its finalists for each category. The ASFD will unveil the winners on the evening of Monday, October 16th, at the annual Pinnacle Awards Gala, which is set to take place in the ball room of the International Home Furnishings Center during the fall High Point Market.
How will the winners be chosen?
Each year, a group of 12 furniture industry professionals convene at the fall High Point Market to select the year’s Pinnacle Award winners. The judges assess each piece on a variety of criteria related to excellence in design, including form and function, innovation, retailer and manufacturing benefit, and consumer benefit.
While the Pinnacle Award finalists are released after the judging, the winners are not announced until the Awards Banquet ceremony during the Fall High Point Market.
How do I enter?
Industry professionals interested in submitting an entry for consideration in the 2017 Pinnacle Awards can do so by visiting bit.ly/2017PinnacleEntry. The ASFD requires an $85 entry fee for all association members, while a $110 fee will apply to all non-member nominations.
Those interested in becoming members of the American Society of Furniture Designers can find out more at asfd.com/join. In addition to granting members discounted entry into the yearly Pinnacle Awards program, the association offers benefits including discounts on industry software and publications, inclusion in the association’s directory, the opportunity to participate in networking events, and a variety of other professional resources. Additionally, the ASFD offers 14 different membership types for professionals of all skillsets, including categories for students, educators, corporate representatives, and young furniture design professionals.