Meet SA’s Top Young Designers for 2023

For the 2023 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition, young designers from institutions across the country submitted their entries, leaving the judges to evaluate the cream of the crop. This year’s brief, ‘Amplify’, welcomed in an amazing selection of entries. We at Caesarstone are so proud to introduce you to this year’s winners…

SDC 2023 was held at Battery Park, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

Meet the Winner: Theo Magwira

The first-place prize for the SDC 2023 was awarded to Theo Magwira. His lecturers are Clayton Johnson-Goddard and Barry Bradley at Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha. He wins the opportunity for himself and his chosen lecturer to travel to an international design fair of their choice, worth R100K! We chatted with Theo to get his take on this year’s brief, the competition, and what he hopes to see in the future…

Theo Magwira accepted the first place prize with grace, humility, and a sense of achievement.

Q&A with SDC 2023 winner: Theo Magwira

Q: As a participant what did you expect from the Caesarstone SDC Awards Ceremony? I expected a tranquil experience, it was my first time attending an outdoor event and it was amazing. The reception felt like everyone was a family.

Q: What makes the SDC so prestigious for you and your fellow students? Caesarstone is like the Ballon d’Or for student designers. The lectures make a point to inform us on how important the competition is

Q: What do you think made your design stand out from the rest? I feel like everyone’s designs had a unique impact to influence the space, not only the finalists but my classmates as well. I feel like my design stood out due to its longevity and symbol of the space. I aimed at creating a space for the community that will be timeless – and leaves room for future development.

Q: Do you have any advice you can give to next year’s entrants? I think they should be brave and design outside their comfort zone. The biggest worry is usually if we are able to model the project, but YouTube has all the answers!

Q: Why did you enter the SDC? What were your objectives? I entered because of the opportunities that can come from it, which outweigh any other existing competition. My objective was to make it to the top 9, then I left everything up to God.

Q. If you were to organise the 2024 SDC, what innovations would you bring to the table? I would encourage more indigenous and local material selections along with Caesarstone because Caesarstone has amazing colours that could go so well with indigenous material, the engineered stone mixed with the natural environment would be the best marriage.

From left to right: Stefan Antoni (SAOTA), Juliet Kavishe (ICoD), Michele Rhoda (ARRCC), Rashiq Fataar (Our Future Cities), Jonathan Anstey (Anstey Architects), Dorothy van’t Riet (DVR Design & Décor Consultants), and Theo Magwira (in front).

LEFT: Megan Noel (Head of Marketing at Caesarstone), Clayton Johnson-Goddard (Lecturer at NMU), Theo Magwira, Barry Bradley (Lecturer at NMU), and Rashiq Fataar. RIGHT: Moments after Theo was named as the winner of SDC 2023!

Take a look at the winning entry…

Second place: Marlet van Zijl

Coming in 2nd place, and winning herself a cash prize of R15K, was Marlet van Zijl from Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town. Her lecturer is Anel Joubert who helped her develop the presentation into a worth second-place spot.

LEFT: Anel Joubert of Design Time and her student, Marlet van Zijl who came second in this year’s competition. RIGHT: Some of the top 9 finalists looking at this year’s entries.

Marlet’s entry: Athlone Olympic Sports Centre

Third place: Nakedi Phefadu

Rounding off the top 3 was Nakedi Phefadu from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Nakedi was the winner of a R5K cash prize as his striking presentation was one to be remembered. His lecturer, Sandra Felix accompanied him and couldn’t be prouder of this achievement. 

LEFT: One of our judges, Dorothy van’t Riet celebrates with third-place winner, Nakedi Phefadu. RIGHT: Top 9 finalists, Cameron Glennistor and Nakedi Phefadu from Wits celebrate with their lecturers, Sandra Felix and Kevin Goncalves.

Nakedi’s entry: The rebirth of Athlone dunes

Watch the video from the Judging Day:


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