Student's space saving invention takes honours at Furniture Awards

Monday, February 26, 2018

A space saving invention has led to interior design student, Lwazi Mshibe, bagging top honours in the Student Category of the 5th Furniture Design Competition Awards.

Speaking on his award-winning design concept, Mshibe said his invention - 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 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.

For the Durban University of Technology student, it was a case of second time lucky in the annual awards that are the brainchild of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The awards, which were held on Friday, 23 February, at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, seek to elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities, while also aiming to enhance the furniture industry’s competitiveness both locally and abroad.

Going forward, Mshibe aims 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.

Meanwhile, the winner in the Established category, Beaunard Jansen, from Desseign Pty Ltd, said his concept of his “Snoose 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.

Dti Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe said the furniture industry is 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 the Deputy Minister. - 

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