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Winners Announced At Caesarstone Student Designer Competition

The ‘Oscars’ of the student design world, the 2020/21 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition held their exclusive awards ceremony last week, which saw Gideon Williams from Nelson Mandela University achieve ‘winner’ status. In true Caesarstone style, guests were treated to a night to remember!

Due to the COVID pandemic, the competition was extended over a two-year period and as such was able to welcome a plethora of dynamic and world-class entries for the judges to marvel at. This year’s judging panel was made up of Juliet Kavishe of IID Professions, Jonathan Anstey of Anstey Architects, Stefan Antoni of SAOTA, Michele Rhoda of ARRCC, and Dorothy van’t Riet of DVR Interiors.

Adaptive Reuse of Site

The 2020/21 brief was written by Juliet and was titled ‘Adaptive Reuse of Site’. It’s based around the Collier Jetty at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, which is an existing site that’s open for a bid to redesign. “We’ve seen a huge impact of a pandemic on the full process of nearly every sector within the economy and in society,” remarked judge Jonathan Anstey, “I really believe that the focus on sustainability is no longer trend, it’s simply common sense.”

With a well-known reputation of being passionate about furthering young design talent, Caesarstone South Africa announced the top 9 finalists in October, after receiving an incredible caliber of entries from design institutions and universities around the country. “The most important thing that I would say to young designers today is to be yourself. I want to encourage them to believe in their uniqueness and not to copy, because you can only be the best you – and not the best somebody else,” remarked Dorothy while surveying the entries on judging day.

Finding the Cream of the Crop

Each year, architecture and interior design departments from universities, colleges, and design institutions around South Africa are invited to submit their top 5 entries for adjudication in the competition, leaving the judges to evaluate only the cream of the crop. The Caesarstone Student Designer Competition has become renowned for creating job offers for the winners and finalists before they have even graduated.

The final set of entries showcased in the 13th annual awards once again highlight the amazing talent we have in our student designers who will light the way in South African design. “These kinds of competitions are beneficial for students because it teaches you to understand a brief – and to know that you’re not the only student participating, but that it’s a national competition,” says Juliet.

Winner announced

The first-place prize for the 2020/21 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition was awarded to Gideon Williams. He is a student at Nelson Mandela University, and his lecturers are Donald Flint and Barry Bradley. In the judges’ words, this entry was selected as the winner due to its innovative interpretation of the brief and its masterful use of the existing structures on site to support the design. The award for the best presentation was also given to Gideon, who walked away with a R7 500 cash prize.

As a self-proclaimed lover of all things ‘unusual, interesting, and whimsical’, Gideon Williams is truly a deserving winner of the 2020/21 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition. We can say this with the utmost certainty as the judging process is done on an anonymous basis, so Gideon bagged first prize and the Best Presentation award completely on merit.

Gideon and his lecturer will be flown to an international design fair of his choice on an all-expenses paid trip worth R100K where he’ll be exposed to the world’s greatest design minds. Caesarstone awards the prize to both the student and the lecturer in recognition of the mentoring that takes place to help students develop their design skills.

In second place

A cash prize of R15 000 was awarded to the second-place student, Andrew Proudman, from Nelson Mandela University for his outstanding entry that boasted one of the strongest presentations and answered the brief in an excellent manner. His lecturers are Donald Flint and Barry Bradley. Andrew’s design philosophy: “Armed with a passion for people, architecture, and sustainability, design is a significant part of who I am. It’s in everything I do and in everything I want to do. Consistently learning and growing, obtaining skills, and knowledge, I hope to become a positive influence in the future of design.”

In Third Place

Third place was awarded to Iryna Khanenko from Design Time School of Interior Design, who received a R5 000 cash prize. This magnificent entry was selected by the judges because, if built, it would be a landmark in the city of Cape Town. Her lecturer is the multi-talented Anel Joubert. Iryna’s design philosophy: “I love collaborating with people and sharing ideas that inspire me to make the world a beautiful place. My heart beats for Africa.. my passion for diversity and progression lights the fire within me for everything I do. My main goal is to create awareness around sustainable living, to uplift our communities, and do something wonderful in design to inspire our new generations.”

 “13 years! I can’t believe that Caesarstone has come this far with the competition, and that it’s still being so well received by our design institutions. What we’ve seen from this year’s brief and the entries we’ve received is that a new braveness is being asked of the designers of today, and they must think more critically,” says Megan Noel, Head of Marketing at Caesarstone. “The design we need for our future is looking anything but ordinary, and that’s what gets us excited at Caesarstone because we’re never looking for ordinary design.”

Looking forward to 2022, the brief for next year’s competition will be released soon: https://bit.ly/StudentDesigner


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