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PICS | Cool seats by finalists in Nando's Hot Young Designer contest

Entrants were challenged to design benches with social distancing in mind

27 October 2020 - 16:47 By Julia Freemantle

For three years running, Nando's Hot Young Designer Talent Search (HYD) has sought to unearth fresh talent and helped to launch and support the careers of up-and-coming local creatives.

This year, its brief to the would-be designers entering the competition was to create "a unique bench that responds sensitively to seating needs in a time of social distancing".

With a panel that includes celebrated furniture designers Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio and Mpho Vackier of The Urbanative, respected design and publishing industry stalwarts such as Steve Smith and Annemarie Meintjies from VISI, and members of the Nando’s Design Programme, including creative director Tracy Lynch of Studio Leelynch and Malibongwe Tyilo, the judging took place over two phases: the first to narrow down the entries to 22; and the second to firm up the final selection.

Instead of the usual top 10, this year 12 finalists were chosen. A tie for one of the places, and one entry with a duo of designers responsible for the submission, resulted in the longer than usual list.

The finalists are Anele Vezi, Bebe Donnolly, Christian Botha, Darren Myburgh, Jan de Wet and Jeanne Scholtz (team entry), Katlego Tshuma, Mimi Roberts, Ngwako Matloha, Sipho Twala, Siviwe Jali, and Thando Nxelewa.

Check out their innovative bench designs in the image gallery above.

Lynch found the standard of the entries this year particularly impressive and felt that they offered creative solutions to a challenging brief.

"Receiving these well-conceived expressions, which highlight the layers of our unique heritage and reflect the future of SA design from our emerging designers, fills me with hope and happiness," she said.

"If the future is in the hands of this generation, we have so much to look forward to."

The next step will see all 12 finalist take part in a mentorship session hosted by Nando’s in November, where established designers will workshop different business approaches and share their insight and advice with a view to furthering these emerging designers’ future careers.

The overall winner of the HYD competition will be announced on November 11.