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A’ Design Award, Grazie Mille!

It looks as though we’ve hit on a really good design here. We received word late in April 2018 that our furniture arm (PodMarket™) has received another international design award. Not bad from a Melbourne based studio. This time it’s the Italian A’ Design Award. The Pende table series was awarded the Silver Prize within the Furniture and Homeware Design category. This one surprised us quite a bit, and it’s quite an honour to say the least. We’re debating amongst ourselves if we actually go to Como in Italy’s north (sounds tough, hey?) to accept the award in person and do a bit of “networking”, which as we all know is crucial in business development.

This Pende series has now been officially recognised on an international level by the German Design Award, the ICONIC Innovative Interiors Award (also German) and now the A’ Design Award in Italy. Given this range didn’t rate that highly with local judges here at home, this seems even stranger and a lot funnier to us now. Maybe it was the dismount!

A' Design Award Status
A’ Design Award, Silver

This article is a quick one to mention just how surprising it has been and how much we have in fact learned by going through the various awards’ nomination processes. It’s quite incredible just how much they all vary from one other, even though they’re all essentially in the same field – furniture in this case. All have been very accommodating and quite distinctive in what they have wanted from us. It’s an indicator (to us at least) that they are in fact all geared slightly towards different objectives.

It’s an interesting thing really. On the one hand, there are a group of awards that are genuinely interested in great and innovative design regardless of the field. They want to do their best to determine what they deem is great design and thus promote the designers and help establish and further develop themselves and their businesses. On the other hand, they actually need lots of interest, entries, recognition and essentially applications to keep their status and reputations just where they want them to be. Hence the long and massively varied list of things that they want from the designers.

In our experience to date, the German Design Council was very efficient and to the point with their requirements. This may not be surprising to anyone. They laid it all out the table very early on and you knew exactly what was required from you. The only exception to this was the fact that we had to provide all of our “boilerplates” in both English and German, and their website wouldn’t accept anything final until this was done (and within the character limit). A massive thanks for saving us with the German translations Ralf!

The Italians’ process was super impressive too, but in a different way. These awards were prolific in their detailed explanations and correspondence. Their email contained soooooo much information and had many embedded hyperlinks, that it became quite a large job to assimilate it all. We needed to run a separate spreadsheet to co-ordinate all the dates. They wanted all sorts of extra stuff, and we couldn’t quite work out why. Then it hit us as soon as we were notified of our success. By filling out over 100 interview style questions (seriously) and loading all sorts of images in very, very specific formats and sizes (even a great number without the furniture itself), the A’ Awards then produced a very impressive, fully detailed and professional Press Kit. Nice surprise that one and a big grazie to them and their impressive automated processes.

The Aussies were a lot more relaxed and laid back as one might expect. Not a heap of categories to select from, not a lot of information to provide and in general not too many constraints. Here you have a lot more flexibility to handle things how you like.

Anyway, I’m just writing down a few thoughts whilst they’re fresh in my head. The bottom line is that we here at PodMarket™ are very happy with the acknowledgement of our Pende design range. To give an example of the amazing automated presentations that the A’ Design Awards pulls together from the plethora of material requested, please refer to the example below or this press release. Oh, and don’t forget to check out our website for a whole lot more!

Below is an example of the type of information put together from that which was presented as part of the A’ Design Awards (Italy).

Silver A' Design Award
A’ Design Award Winning Design

Pende Series Multifunctional Table by Harry Strouzas and Fiona McKenzie


DESIGN NAME: Pende Series

PRIMARY FUNCTION: Multifunctional Table


Our goal:To make improvements to the standard criss-cross table leg form. Such frames typically have 3-4 oversized legs connected via inelegant, wasteful, material (strength) removing, angled joints. We were determined to find a better way. We explored geometry and physics. We desired strength/rigidity without added weight or mass. Our solution exceeded expectations. Not only limited to tables or 5 legs. Any leg number (3+) is possible as too is the application; stool, lamp, coat stand, seat…


The Pende utilises physics to produce a unique table series. Minimal components interconnect to provide incredible rigidity. Clean uncluttered lines belie the complex interplay of a polygon bracket, straight legs and structural top. Self tightening without adhesives. Very light and flat packable. A connectable wooden bracket allows a globe to be fitted underneath thus producing a feature lamp. The design can be adapted to varying leg numbers and different structures, eg: stools, coat stands.


Each Pende table is very easily assembled. Although the process is intuitive, it will nevertheless result in a much deeper appreciation of the design. The obvious research into the various forces & angles at play will become very evident when one examines the interplay between the legs, polygon bracket and top. The deceptively simple manner in which the Pende can be turned into a beautiful, freestanding lamp (all without tools) will further enhance the user’s affinity with this resolved design.


A self driven project by PodMarket. We were determined to find a better way to create an eye catching, structural, criss-cross form, which did not use complicated joinery, large section material or heavy welding. Initial development began in early 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. The resolved design and prototypes were completed in early 2017, in Melbourne. Display: PodMarket showroom, Melbourne. Interest via by the German Design Council and certain manufacturers in Munich.


Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design


The Pende series is perfectly suited to batch production. Totally flat packable. Materials: Legs: solid wood; Top: glass, wood or veneer board; Polygon bracket: stainless steel (welded) or chrome plated (cast) brass; Connectors: stainless steel. The patent pending bracket is the only form of fixing the solid legs require. The entire under-frame is self-tightening, self-supporting and very strong. No adhesive or any requirement for potentially complicated compound-angle jointing.


Pende Dining (square) 1100 x 1100 x 760mm / (round) 1100 Diameter x 760mm. Pende Low (square) 800 x 800 x 390mm / (round) 800 Diameter x 390mm. Pende Side (square) 450 x 450 x 610mm / (round) 450 Diameter x 610mm. Note: all sizes available with integrated light (optional).


table design, geometric, minimalist, contemporary design, lightweight, table lamp, multifunctional, coat stand


We analysed forces attributable to furniture and examined how they’re absorbed, via physical testing/prototyping, computer modelling and discussion with engineers. We researched how structures disperse loads and noted that minimalist angular frames were consequently found in places where the forces too were minimal. Bigger tables always compensated by utilising heavy joinery techniques & sections. Geometry & engineering allowed us to utilise much smaller sections with minimal materials.


The most challenging aspect was overcoming stubborn, non-suggestive feedback from experts when a particular proposal didn’t work. “There’s nothing else you can really do” or “I told you that wouldn’t work” was typically heard from during development. Managing different specialist knowledge was also difficult as one improvement in one aspect would often result in a negative production requirement later on. Really listening and absorbing the key issues was paramount in developing solutions.


Harry Strouzas and Fiona McKenzie


Pende Patent Pending, Australia, Dec 2017 Application No: upon request. Design Registration, Australia, July 2017. Frame Assembly Registration No: 201710042 Bracket Registration No: 201710055 Design Patent Application, USA, July 2017. 5 Point Stand Application No: 29 609 619 Bracket Application No: 29 609 623 Design Registration, China, July 2017. Frame Assembly Registration No: 2017302887300 Bracket Registration No: 2017302891128 Design Registration, EU, June 2017. Support Structure Registration No: 004062511 839096

Visit the following page to learn more:


NAME: PodMarket Pty Ltd


PodMarket Pty Ltd is an Australian company owned and driven by Fiona McKenzie and Harry Strouzas. Harry (lead designer) has invented an original table frawework, and other innovative furniture pieces. The Pende series has emerged via research into geometry and physical forces, culminating in an structure that uses minimal materials, no glue or reinforcement of joints, and a flat pack approach to the ubiquitous criss-cross frame. The Pende symbolises the ethos of PodMarket, which eschews showy, decorative visual aspects and prefers an honest, sustainable approach to design. The intelligence in the PodMarket range is often found in connection details, often hidden from view. Hence an observer may walk past a piece such as the Pende, thinking “just another criss-cross table”. That observer may not realise the engineering and physics involved which has justified a patent application, asserting the Pende as more than a new visual design:an invention. Harry’s approach to furniture design is somewhat informed by his highly analytical mind. Initially a commerce graduate who worked in finance, he decided to follow his passion. He studied & worked as a furniture maker in Australia, and graduated with first class honours from Buckinghamshire New University in England with a BA, Furniture Design and Craftsmanship. His father (an engineer) trained Harry in problem solving in the field of mechanical engineering by taking him to countless manufacturing/production lines in and around Melbourne as part of his work. This strongly influenced Harry in his furniture design process, which often involves innovative engineering solutions using metal, solid wood, glass and plastics.


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