Awards    People 14 Dec 2017

Grahame Morrison reflects on the Designer Awards – from humble beginnings to premier event

The Designer Awards was started 15 years ago by Designer Magazine with a simple premise: to showcase the best of kitchen and bathroom design and the skills of the industries’ top designers. And while it has stayed true to its original aim, the event itself has gone from strength-to-strength.

It started as a cosy reception in a London restaurant and this year took over The Bloomsbury Big Top, an award-winning, iconic, events venue based in the heart of London’s Design Quarter.

When the Designer Awards started, then as now there was no industry-wide event with a 100% focus on kitchen or bathroom design and the products that help to make good design possible. The KBSA (or KSA as it was in those days), had the first kitchen design awards but entry was restricted to the Association’s members.

The only other awards event for the kitchen and bathroom sectors at that time did include kitchen and bathroom design categories but these tended to get lost amongst the many other sections being awarded and applauded on the night And often, by the time the kitchen and bathroom design categories were announced, the evening’s guests were getting somewhat boisterous.

The originators of the Designer Awards thought that good design and good designers warranted more respect than this and set about planning an event where the spotlight was focussed on exceptional designers, their work and the products they worked with.

I think the turning point for the Designer Awards came when Pro Publishing bought it from its previous owner and Pro Pub’s managing director Clara Perry and Martin Allen-Smith, editor of the Designer Magazine, moved it from Lord’s Cricket Ground (a strange and somewhat inappropriate choice of venue for the Design Awards in my opinion), to the Tower of London.

Here Clara and Martin had the facilities and the imagination to take a good event and turn it into a grand occasion. And it has been on an upward curve ever since, culminating with a stellar affair at The Bloomsbury Big Top in 2017.

Where does the Designer Kitchen and Bathroom Awards go from here? I don’t know that, but I’m pretty sure that Clara and Martin are already working on how they can make the 2018 Designer Awards even more successful than the 2017 event.

Once again they will turn the spotlight onto the very best kitchen and bathroom designers, their projects and the products they work with. And once again, the best of the best will receive the respect and recognition their skills deserve.

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