Categorized | Education

Second time lucky for DUT student at the 5th Annual Furniture Design Competition Awards

It was second-time-lucky for Mr Lwazi Mshibe when he was announced as the Student Category winner at the 5th annual Furniture Design Competition Awards that were held at the Homemakers Expo in Johannesburg. Mshibe who studied Bachelor of Technology Interior Design Degree at the Durban University of Technology was entering the competition for the second time after an unsuccessful first attempt.

The Furniture Design Competition is a brainchild of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) which seeks to elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities and enhancing its competitiveness both locally and abroad.

Speaking on his award-winning design concept, Mshibe said that the Songa (meaning to fold in Isixhosa) came as an inspiration during his study years when he had to leave home and stay in a residential flat.

“It was during this period when I was introduced to the struggles many students encounter living in very limited space that often required flexible pieces of furniture. That is when I designed this multi-purpose concept that comes as one and can be stored for a variety of uses. The concept can be put together and tucked away when space is required,” said Mshibe.

On outlining of his future plans, Mshibe said that he was going to focus on developing his brand and making use of platforms and connections that will come his way to design affordable furniture that can be mass produced for local and international consumption.

The winner for the Established Category, Mr Beaunard Jansen from Desseign PTY LTD said that the concept of his Snooze Cot, bed-side tables was inspired from the experience and knowledge gained when he was involved with baby and children products.

“My concept is a baby cot that transforms into a junior bed with two bedside tables. The baby cot has the two bedside tables sitting on top of it that creates the internal space of the cot. When the baby grows to two-years and older the Snoose can then be transformed into a baby bed that has two bedside tables. The bedside tables have the support system for a young child and are safe because they do not roll off the bed,” said Jansen.

In addition, Jansen said that his concept was aimed at both local and the export market and that he was aiming to be the biggest exporter of South African products globally.

When delivering a keynote address at the awards, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Bulelani Magwanishe said that the furniture industry was pertinent to radically transforming South Africa’s economy.

“It is partly because it is one of the most labour intensive and trade supporting sectors and if it is promoted correctly it can significantly contribute to industry development and lead to the beneficiation of raw materials. This initiative contributes to the development of design skills in the sector and supporting this kind of innovation is paramount to the conversation about the 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Magwanishe.

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