Student design award showcases young talent

Winning student Van Wyk Oosthuizen (front row, 2nd from left) with CasesarStone directors: (from left) Bridgette Raats, Rudi Eggers and Trevor King, and the judges: Janina Masojada, Darren Bester, Jonathan Anstey, Juri Abbott and Sonja Petrus Spamer.The third annual CaesarStone Design Competition invited students of architecture and interior design to design ‘an icon to earth’s wellbeing’. The finalists and the winner of the 2010 CaesarStone Design Award were announced at a function hosted by the company in August.


The brief for the competition was conceptualised by Juri Abbott of Urban Edge Architects. It challenged students to consider the contemporary issues of global warming and environmental responsibility and to design a place… a monument … a symbol… that would convey these concerns.


As architect Sonja Petrus Spamer of Design Space Africa said in introducing the awards evening, an icon has to be visually compelling; it has to present a powerful image that stays with us and that conveys more than is seen at first glance.


Both Abbott and Spamer were among the judges of the competition entries on a panel that also included Jonathan Anstey of Stauch Vorster Architects, Darren Bester of It Is Design, and Janina Masojada of Design Workshop SA.


Spamer thanked CaesarStone for continuing to invest in the competition, now in its third year, as it gives students an opportunity to test themselves, it provides a forum to promote young design talent, and it benchmarks the current status of the design industry.


The winning entry in the competition this year, selected from nine finalists, was designed by Van Wyk Oosthuizen, an architectural student at the University of the Free State. As is the case each year, the prize extends to the winning student’s lecturer, Madelein Markram in this instance. They will travel together to Israel, the home of CaesarStone, on an all-expenses paid trip.


Oosthuizen also takes home the trophy that was designed this year by Darren Bester and was manufactured, in CaesarStone, by Durban-based Afrigran.


The merit award went to a joint entry designed by Antje Pluntke & Chloe Johnson, students at Design Time School of Interior Design, and their lecturer Katherine Mann. This award carries a cash prize.


Commenting on the winning submission, Spamer said: “This scheme presents a strong, clear idea in a built form. It reflects the devastation that we’re heading for as a piece of architecture. It also provides us with a space where we can start to produce an answer – a space for play, or theatre, or public gatherings, or a place to celebrate when we come up with answers. To think of an answer is really the magic of this scheme.

Spamer also highlighted the material form of the project: it is made from concrete, steel and CaesarStone. “CaesarStone is often thought of to make a pretty bathroom or kitchen so it typically has a very light identity or character. But in this instance CaesarStone is used to produce something quite thought provoking. It is part of the building. That is a really big step for CaesarStone as a material.”

The brief for the 2011 CaesarStone Design Competition was announced at the 2010 awards function. Developed by Janina Masojada, it presents a completely different challenge: ‘Real & Simple – a place for the range of what our lives are about.’

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