On Saturday 25 November, the fifth annual Design Foundation Awards took place, in which a total of seven accolades were given out to SA’s top local talents for categories encompassing design, manufacture, commercial success and innovation.
‘With our independent think-tank board representing diverse industries, our aim is to have a foundation that supports the design industry at large – from grassroots and educational levels to manufacture, retail and export,’ says Design Foundation board member Trevyn McGowan. Marketing director Abigail Rands of Krone, sponsor of the prestigious Icon Award, says that ‘design is at the heart of the way we live and work. We believe it has the ability to change South Africa, and by supporting local design, we’re investing in a positive future.’
The winner of the 2017 Icon Award is Gregor Jenkin, who was the inaugural recipient in 2012. As the featured designer at the 100% Design South Africa showcase, and with a solo show currently on at Southern Guild featuring more than 20 monumental pieces, the South African stalwart has created bodies of work that have garnered the praise worthy of icon status yet again.
The Maker to Market Award, sponsored by M&C Saatchi Abel, went to Robin Sprong Wallpaper. ‘We believe in creating beautifully simple solutions for an increasingly complex world,’ explains creative director Ashraf Majiet. ‘We call this brutal simplicity of thought and nowhere is that more evident than in great design.’ Adam Hoets of Willowlamp won the Object That Moves Award for an original product that has experienced great commercial success.
While it’s always encouraging to see South African talent being recognised, especially in an industry as tight-knit as design, we’re particularly excited for the emerging designers who have been afforded exposure and support through these awards. Having achieved excellence with limited resources in her lighting and furniture design company, founder of Mash T Design Thabisa Mjo received the Future Found Award. University of Johannesburg third-year industrial design student Keitumetse Maake took home the Apprentice Award, affording her a 12-month internship with acclaimed furniture designer and maker David Krynauw.
Sponsored by AfriSign, the Design With Purpose Award recognises socially responsible work with a focus on design and, this year, was given to SolarTurtle. The social business deploys ultra-secure energy kiosks at rural schools to provide basic electrification needs. Lastly, the Manufacture Award sponsored by Bronze Age Studio went to Ngwenya Glass for going beyond expectation to aid designers in realising their products.