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Creative innovation in the spotlight

Online since 3.11.2015 • Filed under Advertorial • From Issue 16 page(s) 78-79
Creative innovation in the spotlight

Reinvention: that was the subtle theme that emerged from this year’s Cobra Design Competition, which called on professional, student and amateur designers to reimagine bathroom tapware and bathroom spaces for the future, with a strong focus on innovation.

There were two design entry categories: the first was to give a new lease on life to the bathroom staple, the basin and tap/mixer combination, and the second was to conceptualise a complete bathroom sanctuary, from the taps and toilet right down to the towel rails. ‘The first category focused on two particular fittings to allow educational institutes to incorporate this design brief into their 2015 curriculum. The majority of entries received were for this category, which made competition between the designs tight. In the end, the judges had to be extremely strict on entrants’ creative interpretation of the design brief. We were hoping for the traditional basin/tap set-up to be reinvented here – and it certainly was,’ says Ramielle de Jager, Cobra’s product manager.

Evergreen by Murray Sharp was placed first in this category for his excellent combination of innovation and creativity, and the seamless synchronicity between the two elements of his design. Andrew Gilmour’s Jungle brought a smile to the judge’s faces. Inspired by kids, this basin/tap combo was designed specifically for a children’s bathroom. ‘We don’t pay enough attention to ergonomics in children’s bathrooms; we simply adapt what we have to make it work. This is no longer necessary as design allows us to change the way people interact with products and improve their lives because of it. Jungle clearly demonstrated this in addressing a specific challenge. That is exactly what good design is all about,’ de Jager notes. Although fewer entries were received in the second category, the standard of the designs was exceptional. Drop, by Leigh McLaren, was not only innovative and highly creative, but also spoke to international trends. The judges agreed her design represented the gold standard in innovation, with the bathroom space being refreshed according to the design brief in a decidedly imaginative way. Similarly, Delve, by Andrew Mboyi, pushed the limits of creative innovation with on-trend materials such as concrete and glass. He cleverly incorporated towel rails into mixers, a spout into a waterfall feature, and used fire to heat the water as it was channeled to the bath. As always, judging was completely anonymous and scores were awarded purely on the merit of the designs and how entrants answered the design brief. ‘The calibre of this year’s entries was very high, with excellent attention being paid to the theme of innovation. A commonality existed in the material used and the inherent focus on energy saving, which is now a necessity in tap design,’ says Rory Macnamara, publishing editor of PLUMBING AFRICA. Megan Hesse, co-owner of Anatomy Design, an interior design studio and store that specialises in product design, describes the designs as sleek, with a significant trend towards interesting finishes such as copper and brass. ‘It was also wonderful to see work that was both beautifully designed and offered solutions for water sustainability,’ she explains. ‘The creative design demonstrated was once again of an exceptionally high standard,’ agrees Marcia Margolius, editor of SA DÉCOR & DESIGN. ‘Tap designs were distinctive and perfect for Cobra’s next generation of designer taps. From fun and playful, to intriguing curved designs complemented by contemporary sanitaryware, we saw some real standout pieces that created the ultimate bathroom statements!’ Greg Scott, director of Greg Wright Architects & SITE Interior Design, says the winning designs bear testament to the quality of design in South Africa. ‘Both winners are examples of true innovation and, I believe, can hold their own on a global stage. There is amazing design coming out of South Africa at the moment. I think we are a country of true innovators, and these winners should be included in the echelons of top South African designers – that is how good their designs are. They set a very high benchmark for next year’s competitors,’ he points out. Concludes de Jager: ‘We wanted to inspire and invoke a sense of innovation among entrants and can honestly say that this was achieved. They were fearless in their approach and tackled the design challenges head-on. Those who didn’t make the top 20 finalists didn’t necessarily submit sub-standard designs, the competition was just incredibly stiff this year.’ As the category winners, Murray Sharp and Leigh McLaren were each awarded R35 000, with runners-up, Andrew Gilmour and Andrew Mboyi, each receiving R10 000. The R10 000 prize for the institution that produced the most promising design students in the competition went to Greenside Design Centre College of Design. The winners were presented with their prizes at a special event hosted in Morningside, Sandton, on September 3, 2015.

Cobra Watertech


Issue 16

Issue 16

November 2015

This article was featured on page 78-79 of
To Build Magazine Issue 16.

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