Australian Tops Chippendale School Year

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An Australian designer has won the prestigious Student of the Year award from one of Europe’s leading furniture schools. Nigel Goodwin, from Murrumbateman near Canberra is also bringing a piece of Australia back home with him.

Nigel, who recently retired from a career in the Australian tax office, has spent the last year at the renowned Chippendale International School of Furniture, from where he has just graduated with singular distinction.


The Chippendale school in central Scotland takes a small number of students from around the world for its immersive 30 week furniture design courses. This year, students came from the UK, USA, Germany, Austria, Poland, India, Singapore, South Korea – and, of course, Australia.

As part of his course, Nigel created a parquetry side table and clothes valet, both incorporating redgum that came from flooring from an old squash court near the school, and which had been stored there for some seven years. Examining it more closely, the redgum pieces were clearly marked “Made in Australia” – and which gave Nigel the idea to make something from his home country and then bring it home with him.


“I’ve always had an interest in the practicalities of woodworking but have never had a chance to pursue that interest,” said Nigel, who is now planning to open a B&B and workshop to teach others what he has learned in Scotland. “I am thrilled to have won this honour, particularly since it is so unexpected. I have thoroughly enjoyed my year at the school,” he said.

Nigel was presented with an inscribed Quaich by Iain Gray MSP, a member of the Scottish parliament, and Anselm Fraser, the Chippendale school’s principal. Anselm Fraser said that “Nigel has shown enormous talent and attention to detail. He has created furniture that is beautiful to look at, utterly practical but which also shows enormous design skills. “The Student of the Year award recognises the student who displays all the gifts, creating furniture that has form and function, but also demonstrating real craftsmanship,” he said.

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