Furnishing design dreams in Derby

A new furniture range designed by a University of Derby student has been unveiled at a UK exhibition

The range had been launched prior to being sold by an upscale manufacturer.

Matt Thompson, who has just completed his BSc (Hons) Product Design Engineering degree course, has seen his ‘Madison Lounge’ range of outdoor furniture – including chairs and tables – unveiled as the new range by high end furniture manufacturer, Alexander Rose of West Sussex.

The company set UK degree students the design challenge earlier this year. The judges’ panel included TV presenter and garden designer (and Chelsea Flower Show Gold winner) Diarmuid Gavin, Jonathan Hindle of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, Alexander Rose’s Managing Director Borge Leth and Alan Morley, Head of Design for Alexander Rose.

Matt’s winning design was unveiled at the Solex Exhibition, a national trade show for garden furniture and products, at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.

He has previously been flown to The Philippines by the company to see his rattan weave-based winning design put into production. Matt will receive royalty fees on sales of his Madison Lounge range for the next five years. The product line is due to go on sale within the next 12 months.

Matt, 24 – who now works as a designer for the 3form Design company in Andover, Hampshire – said: “It was such a thrill to be able to see my furniture design being made in the factory and to have it unveiled at the national Solex Exhibition. I can’t wait to see it on sale.”

Borge Leth, Alexander Rose’s Managing Director, added: “The process of selection was certainly a challenging one. Matt’s winning design was chosen for its elegance, practicality and ‘Mad Men’ evocation of 1960s, modern mid-century design, reinterpreted in contemporary weave materials.

“We were very impressed by the designs of all the finalists in the Alexander Rose competition”.

Matt was also recently featured in a number of UK design trade magazines, talking about a prosthetic hand he designed, to be built for as little as £200. It is aimed at the need in developing countries for cheaper artificial limbs. 


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