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November 11, 2009

Judges trumpet vuvuzela-inspired light

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Vuvuzela lighting design by John Edwards

A lighting design inspired by South Africa’s iconic vuvuzela has won a top award for John Edwards, a 24-year-old University of Cape Town School of Architecture student.

The awards ceremony was held on Thursday, November 5, at the Green Point outlet of Weylandts home store, which will manufacture and sell the winning design.

Edwards’s design beat more than 120 hopefuls to win the eighth annual SOLVE New Talent Search award. The prestigious annual competition, organised by Elle Decoration magazine and sponsored by Weylandts, was open to both students and amateur designers for the first time.

The other finalists were 20-year-old Carly Warren of the BHC School of Design in Cape Town, 30-year-old Stiaan Bester of Pretoria, who works as a graphic designer at information design studio KarbonBlack Creative, and 26-year-old Micha Koren, an architecture graduate who is the founder of korigin.com, a fledgling design company in Cape Town.

The judges were looking for a simple, unique design that captured the South African spirit, was eco-friendly and showed an understanding of design as part of a process, from its origins to how the waste materials are dealt with. A clear understanding of the brief was essential and the production cost could not exceed R1 800.

“I have wanted to enter the competition every year since its inception, but I never thought I had a good enough idea!” says final-year architecture student Edwards. “I thought I’d just try out an idea this year – and the outcome has way exceeded my expectations.

“Next year being the World Cup, I wanted to design something soccer inspired.The first idea I had ended up as the one I submitted – a light based on the vuvuzela. Next year, visitors to South Africa will want to take home more than a plastic curio; the design-savvy visitor will look for something more. The ‘Vuvu lamp’ will be made of timber and will be turned to get the right shape.”

The panel of judges included well-known personalities in the design sector such as architect Adam Hoets, lighting design lecturer Paul Pamboukian, Interactive Africa founder Ravi Naidoo, Weylandts stores’ Chris Weylandt, and Elle Decoration’s Doreed de Waal, Karen Roos and Lauren Shantall.

“Perfectly pitched simplicity means that ‘Vuvu’ can successfully migrate from one room to another throughout the home, and it also translates well from a standing lamp into a bedside lamp and pendant,” says Weylandt of the winning design.

“As we source much of our homeware and furniture from all over the world, it is through this competition we can discover and nurture new local talent right here at home. Although I travel the world in search of beautiful, rare pieces of furniture that change, inspire and offer solutions to people’s homes, nothing gives me greater pleasure than to find some of these solutions on home soil in South Africa.”

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