2013 Cobra Design Competition judging panel expects exciting, innovative and original tap designs

A 4am wake up call, a MyCiti bus trip and a 6am flight to Johannesburg, Marcia Margolius is the woman who can do it all. Not letting the heartlessly cold Cape Town morning get her down, she is looking as fabulous as ever. Arriving at the assigned destination for a fun filled photoshoot and a meet and greet with design minds a like including Rory Macnamara, Editor at Large, Interact Media, Greg Scott, Director, Greg Wright Architects & SITE interior Design, Ronelle Badenhorst, Business Unit Manager, Cobra Watertech, Naomi Larkin, Editor House and Leisure and Natie van der Westhuizen, Manufacturing and Technical Director, Cobra Watertech. This is the judging panel of experts for the Cobra Design A Tap Competition

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  Design minds from around South Africa have put their creative sparks and innovative minds to work on designing a new tap for Cobra. The competition aims to explore new frontiers in tap ware design and manufacture – particularly in the eco-friendly space. This year is themed, ‘Taps and mixers: the flagships of many bathrooms.’ This is an exciting theme and we can’t wait to see what the designers come up with.   The Competition is open to full time tertiary education students and individuals who are professional designers or aspirant designers, and includes cash prizes worth R90 000. Also up for grabs is the chance to be part of the South African icon that is Cobra, as the winning designs will bear the prestigious Cobra brand.   Here is some background to the experts that will be judging the competition… Rory Macnamara, Editor at Large, Interact Media Rory is the founder and publisher of Plumbing Africa magazine and Plumbdrain Africa exhibition. As the official journal and exhibition of the Institute of Plumbing SA, the title provides technical information on compliance to industry standards, materials, products and techniques and their applications to the plumbing industry. With more than 30 years’ experience in the field, Rory brings strong practical and technical input to the panel. Rory’s favourite tap is the Victoriana tap, although his dream tap would be one that was automated and could perform a range of functions via voice control.   Greg Scott, Director, Greg Wright Architects & SITE interior Design Cape Town-based Greg Wright Architects (GWA) is renowned for its architectural design work undertaken in South Africa, other parts of Africa and as far afield as Peru. As director, Greg Scott has been instrumental in the growth of GWA and its extensive portfolio of work completed to date. Despite the 80s returning trend of producing taps in different colours that he’s noticed recently, Greg’s favourite tapware materials are contemporary brushed steel and the ‘yesteryear’ materials of copper, brass and bronze. His ideal tap would be an elegant and minimal piece that draws on these materials and possibly combines them with natural elements, like stone and wood. Greg says he’ll be assessing designers’ understanding of the materials used in their designs and would like to see materials being used in completely new and innovative ways. He believes the Cobra Design Competition levels the design playing field, gives exposure to otherwise unknown designers, encourages innovation and allows designers to collaborate with a top brand like Cobra that may not have otherwise happened.   Ronelle Badenhorst, Business Unit Manager, Cobra Watertech Ronelle is responsible for the strategic management of the Cobra portfolio of products and services, which includes product development. As a person naturally obsessed with Cobra products, her all-time favourite taps include the waterfall effect of Dura and the Strata with its big, round, clean edges. With the promotion of water efficiency being a key judging criterion, Ronelle says she will be looking for daring tap designs that actively support this feature, combined with interesting material choices, good aesthetics and a firm nod to Africa as a core theme. She is also interested in highly original designs that aren’t constrained by what is considered the norm but remain practical. The winning designs will be incorporated into the next Cobra range, with a view to incorporating as many of the other outstanding designs into future Cobra ranges.   Marcia Margolius, Editor, SA Décor & Design Marcia is a renowned interior design author and the creative eye behind SA Décor and Design – The Buyers’ Guide. This definitive guide to the South African building and design industries features a comprehensive list of the country’s leading service providers and suppliers in these sectors. Her perfect tap would be a hand spray with built-in soap dispenser and variable massage pulse. She loves the look and feel of chrome and is particularly interested in taps and mixers that use this material in exciting new ways. Marcia believes a tap is an art form and should become a work of art in itself, in the bathroom space; it should make a statement and take centre stage. These are qualities she expects from this year’s winning designs.   Naomi Larkin, Editor House and Leisure As Editor of several magazines both in South Africa and overseas, along with newspaper and wire service, Naomi has clocked up more than 23 years’ experience in the media industry. She believes the best bathrooms come from a balance of form and function with the owner then putting their own creative stamp on the space. Her dream tap therefore needs to match its purpose, e.g.: for a kitchen sink versus filling a bathtub, and look stylish – no matter what the bathroom’s decor theme is. Naomi is confident that the competition will result in taps that combine the high level of design and practicality needed for today’s market.   Natie van der Westhuizen, Manufacturing and Technical Director, Cobra Watertech Natie is passionate about design and seeing the creation of new designs through from concept to completion. His love of being creative and producing something of great beauty at the end has never waned and Cobra’s manufacturing operation has provided him with many opportunities to put his passion to the test, over the past 30 years that he has worked for the company. Natie believes the most important aspect in a bathroom is the functionality and interaction of all the pieces in it, including the taps. This is a key aspect that he will be considering when judging the entries. His ultimate tap would have a rustic feel to it, be environmentally friendly and highly practical.
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 Contact : www.cobra.co.za  to view Cobra’s extensive product catalogue

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