May the best furniture win

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) industrial design student Merliska Meerman will use her “Rhino” design concept as a solution to filling the gap currently existing in the South African manufacturing sector for children’s furniture.

The 21-year-old will vie for the coveted title of producing the best furniture design concept at the conclusion of the 5th Annual Furniture Design Competition on Friday.

The competition, which aims to identify new talent in the sector and elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities both locally and abroad, is the brainchild of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

Meerman’s “Rhino” is as a joint table and storage unit specifically targeted for children of between one to five years of age.

“The idea behind it is that it should stand against the wall so that it gives off a visual of a rhino emerging from out of the wall, like there is an animal in the child’s room. It functions as a book shelf or a storage unit for stationery, papers, books and toys. The top part also doubles as a chalk board for children to write on,” she said on Wednesday.

Meerman, who is considering patenting her design and manufacturing it for the local and export market, said children have responded positively to her creation.

“I have observed that they liked its multi-functionality uses and the best-selling point about it is that it is user-friendly. It can be assembled and taken apart by anyone for the purposes of moving. It has an educational element to it, where it teaches children about nature conservation.”

The third year student dreams of opening up her own company that will manufacture children’s toys and furniture. - 

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