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UJ design students scoop top honours in National Design Competition

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Industrial Design students within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture (FADA), took top honours in the national Furniture Design Competition hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) on Thursday, 10 March 2021.

UJ students, Amukelani Mathebula, Michal Sushan and Mikhayla Peterson scooped the first prize in the Students category for their entry eKhaya. Djembe Collection 2020 followed by Katlego Madumo and James Fowler who bagged 3rd place for Indigenous Afrika Collection.

The grand-prize winner was Homewood, a Durban-based company that manufactures handcrafted wood furniture.

“eKhaya. Djembe Collection 2020 was designed to push boundaries and it feels great to be recognised for doing what we love, which is solving problems through design,” said Mathebula. “In future we hope to be as efficient in taking on design challenges in teams as well as individually.”

The theme of this 7th edition of the annual competition, which the dtic presented in partnership with Proudly South Africa, the South African Furniture Initiative, Coricraft Furniture, Mecad Solidworks, Furntech Centre of Excellence, Lewis Stores, the African Institute of Interior Designers and Tsogo Sun Hotels was “This is mine and these are ours”.

The competition allows new designers to learn from the other participating exhibitors and also gain insight and valuable advice from those already working in the design and furnishing industry.

The dtic competition challenged students to design furniture for four young newly-employed people who have come together to rent a modest apartment. With minimal budget, the designers were required to design a range of multipurpose and functional furniture, which is modular and can be purchased as budgets allow. The entries from design and architecture students across South Africa were judged by some of the most well-known professionals in the design industry.

“Winning 3rd place in the competition was great. It’s an opportunity to get recognition in the industrial design field at a national level. James and I worked on this furniture “Indigenous Afrika Collection” piece with a real meaning behind it – on what it means being diverse and coming together. These are furniture pieces we’d love to see manufactured and come to life in the near future as part of our catalogue, and sold nationally and internationally in due time. We’d like to thank the DTIC for this great opportunity,” added Madumo.

Ashton Moseley, an Industrial Design lecturer at UJ dexpects more great things from her students.

“I am so thrilled with the outcome of this competition and I am incredibly proud of the students for what they achieved in this project. This project was completed during the 2020 lockdown, with students working collaboratively, while working remotely. It certainly was a challenging brief in particularly challenging circumstances, but the students really did rise to the challenge and produced some really exciting work! This is a great showcase of the talent in the Department of Industrial Design.”

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