The 'Oscars' of the student design world, the Caesarstone Student Designer 2016 awards saw Douw De Kock of Cape Peninsula University of Technology's interior design department take the coveted title last week. The 27-year-old has been studying part-time, while working for an exhibitions company in Cape Town. In his acceptance speech, Douw said he was thankful to his lecturer, Colleen Cocotos, for her oversight and for encouraging him to enter the competition. "The talent displayed at this year's competition was exceptional and I am so humbled to be associated with these incredible designers. Thank you to Caesarstone for hosting this initiative and giving us the chance to showcase our talents. To the incredible judges: thank you for all your effort and recognising the potential that we have within us. This competition has granted me the opportunity to see the world and I cannot be more grateful," adds Douw. Douw and Colleen will be sent on an all-expenses-paid trip to an international design fair of their choice worth R100,000, courtesy of Caesarstone. Caesarstone awards the prize to both the student and the lecturer in recognition of the mentoring that takes place to help students develop their design skills. Colleen played mentor to 5 of the 9 finalists and particularly enjoyed the substantial brief (conceptualised by long-time competition judge, Dorothy van't Riet). “Global climate change will adversely affect agricultural production in the future, it is therefore crucial that education and incubation is addressed within this sector. The brief challenged our students, yet allowed them to engage in meaningful research. I am incredibly proud of their achievements," says Colleen. The brief required students to incorporate Caesarstone surfaces into their design concepts. "We're so conscious of investing in design students' development and growth, because we truly believe that excellence in design is what shapes cultures, individuals' lives and even economies. We feel privileged to be working with such a high calibre of designer-judges and South Africa's top design institutions, who are helping to shape South Africa's future," says Caesarstone's marketing director, Trevor King. The judges' choice for second place went to Erik van Renssen, also from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology under Colleen Cocotos, who won a R10,000 cash prize. Third place, and the R5,000 cash prize, was awarded to Kasha Botha - an interior design student from Tshwane University of Technology, lectured by Jolene Kotze. Architecture and interior design departments from universities, colleges and design institutions around South Africa are invited to submit their top 5 entries for adjudication in the competition, leaving the judges to evaluate only the cream of the crop. The Caesarstone Student Designer competition has become renowned for creating job offers for the winners and finalists before they have even graduated. "Thank you to Caesarstone for investing in students like this," says Dorothy van't Riet. "After many years of being involved in the competition, I've seen it become a gateway to the 'real world' of design and a springboard to establishing a flourishing career for many finalists," she adds. View the official competition highlights video now! To download the Caesarstone Student Designer 2017 brief, conceptualised by Mphethi Morojele, click here. To view the full photo album of the Caesarstone Student Designer 2016 Awards and party, visit the Caesarstone South Africa Facebook page. Contact the competition administrator at marketing(at)interslab.co.za for more information.
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