5 questions answered by Cobra’s PDC winner: ANDREW MBOYI

Two-time Cobra’s Product Design Competition winner, Andrew Mboyi, displayed true innovation and creativity through his winning entries Edge and Attraction in the student category for The Cobra Product Design Competition 2013 and 2014. Andrew Mboyi is doing his Master’s Degree in Architecture at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. Edge (his 2013 entry) aimed to successfully marry sustainability with a timeless design. Embracing the digital age and utilising digital systems to monitor, manage and create a general awareness on water usage was also a big factor in the design. The iconic Michael Jackson ‘lean’ came later in the process, but added a critical aspect to the overall dimension. Attraction (his 2014 entry) merges traditional elements like flexible tubing with new induction technology and magnetic fibres to deliver a sustainable mixer designed for the future. Cobra asked Andrew a few questions about design; read his insights and answers below:

  1. What is the most important aspect for you when creating a design for a fitting? For me I’d say the most important thing would be the “value adding” in an experience, anyone can make nice things; but to add a new dimension to even the most arbitrary of objects and or spaces is what I think any design should do or aim to do from the onset. A good point of departure often yields good results.
  2. What gets your creative juices flowing? The inspiration process is unique to each project, because I don’t have a set “field” of design I want to be tied down to; i tend to be inspired to design anything based on how I experienced it or would prefer it to be. It is the typical change the world through design approach. Therefore I like to see, touch, smell, and listen to the everyday things – a mailbox, a car, a bench, a building, a tap etc. They all have a story and could do with a new chapter.
  3. What kind of planning goes into your choice of material? Materiality and Tectonics are a big part of design and I take them seriously. With each design there are energies and reasons around it that validate material choice; therefore for material choices I immerse myself in the world of the particular design. So if I am to design a hut, I shall take a long bus to the farm hinterlands and learn thatch systems before I dare propose a “Super slick glass and steel modern” hut.
  4. How important is aesthetic appeal to a design? Aesthetics for me are not a sensitive issue, I would say it is very important that aesthetics are kept in mind throughout the process. The idea being that; should you design something, be it as static or dynamic in form; you have to pick up on the relevant cues and be sure to express them. Why else do Cultural centres or Scandanavian interiors look the way they do? They celebrate a particular culture no matter how dormant the people were; and express it!
  5. What would you say are the top bathroom and kitchen trends at the moment? I tend not to follow rapid trends but on an essential level I’d say in kitchen and bathrooms people are starting to expect some excitement within both rooms but on a time and material level.

Time a lot of old style kitchens alongside a few Ultra modern components. Also vice versa. Materiality – again people want the old materials and some new age materials to find balance. This is unique to “now” in that it’s the consumer not the designer who has such ambitions, therefore it is going to be a great few years going forward in Bath and Kitchen Design.

Contact: Cobra
For all budding South Africans there is still time to enter The Cobra Product Design Competition2015 and stand a chance to win your share of R100 000! Entries Close 6 July 2015. More info: http://www.cobra.co.za/cobracomp2015


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