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From Ashes We Rise: Caesarstone Student Designer Competition Awards

The ‘Oscars’ of the student design world, the 2022 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition culminated in the exclusive awards ceremony held recently, which saw Wian van der Merwe from BHC School of Design achieve ‘winner’ status – earning himself and his lecturer a trip to an international design fair of their choice, worth R100K.

Attended by our country’s leading industry experts, guests were treated to a full night of surprises. With live artists in action, and the astounding Jamie Faull on saxophone, the evening ensured an out-of-this-world experiential event. Brining the ‘From Ashes We Rise’ theme to life with ash-dusted starters, smoked mains, and an interactive dessert was the dynamic team at Studio H.

Trends research extraordinaire, Chris Reid, took to the stage to ensure the industry were well informed of what’s to come, and it’s safe to say that everyone went home inspired and excited for what the future of South African design holds.

The brief…

This year’s brief was conceptualised by Mokena Mokeka, founder of Designworks, and is titled ‘From Ashes We Rise’. It’s based around the re-imagining and rebuilding of the home of South African Democracy, the National Assembly. “The National Assembly is where democracy can thrive and there’s an avenue for change to happen,” says Megan Noel, Head of Marketing at Caesarstone.

Students were encouraged to be bold in their designs and re-imagine a new National Assembly in its entirety. Their entries needed to reflect the traditions and symbolism of South Africa’s heritage – while showing off their unique design aesthetics and talents.

The illustrious judging panel came together again for this year’s SDC: Stefan Antoni of SAOTA, Dorothy van’t Riet of Dorothy van’t Riet Design & Décor Consultants, Juliet Kavishe of IID, Jonathan Anstey of Anstey Architects, and Michele Rhoda of ARRCC.

Meet the winners…

In its 14th year, the Caesarstone Student Designer Competition has become renowned for identifying South Africa’s most courageous young designers – and this year was no different. Design institutions from across the country entered, leaving the judges to evaluate the cream of the crop.

First place and best presentation award…

The first-place prize for the 2022 SDC was awarded to Wian van der Merwe. His lecturers are Jaco Landman and Nica Maree at BHC School of Design. Stefan Antoni of SAOTA had this to say this about the winning entry: “Overall the graphic is just so clear, and so engaging that you’re drawn to it. You can feel the spaces and magic inside – that’s why it was such a clear winner.”

Wian (winner) with Michele Rhoda (ARRCC) and Stefan Antoni (SAOTA).

Second place…

Anine Naudé’s outstanding entry boasted a very strong narrative that was implemented throughout the presentation. “The space was used really well, and we all thought that this is something that’s extremely buildable,” says Michele Rhoda of ARRCC. Her lecturer is Gené Keet at CAD4ALL Institute of Applied Architecture who helped her develop the presentation into a worth second-place spot.

Top 3 (from left) Anine Naude, Wian van der Merwe + Nielle Crafford

Third place…

Nielle Crafford’s magnificent entry was selected by the judges because it really summed up the ‘rise from ashes’ theme. “To take something quite disastrous that happened, but then to celebrate it in a beautiful way in the idea of the protea is wonderful,” says Jonathan Anstey of Anstey Architects. Her lecturers are the multi-talented Jaco Landman and Nica Maree from BHC School of Design.

Looking forward to 2023, the brief for next year’s competition will be released soon!

Visit the Student Designer Website: https://bit.ly/StudentDesigner   and the Caesarstone Website: https://bit.ly/CaesarstoneSA

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