A KwaZulu-Natal company and a trio of University of Johannesburg students romped home with top honours in the national Furniture Design Competition hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and other stakeholders today.

Homewood, a Durban-based company that manufactures  handcrafted wood furniture took the first prize in the Manufacturers category, while UJ students, Amukelani Mathebula, Michal Sushan and Mikhayla Peterson scooped the first prize in the Students category. There were five finalists in each category of the 7th edition of the annual competition whose theme was  “This is mine and these are ours”.

The contestants’ brief was to design furniture for four young newly-employed people who have come together to rent a modest apartment. With minimal budget, the designers were required to design a range of multipurpose and functional furniture, that is modular and can be purchased as budgets allow.

The Managing Director of Homewood, Mr Ian Perry, whose company’s manufacturing plant is based in a small KZN town of Lidgetton near Howick, expressed his excitement for walking away with the first prize.

“We are super excited as this win means a lot to us and everyone who is part of the company. It has been a pleasure being part of the competition from the beginning. More importantly, the win shows that the time and efforts that we spent working on the furniture piece that we produced were not in vain,” said an elated Perry.

Homewood’s winning pieces were a multifunctional couch and a coffee table that open up into a bed, pedestal,  work desk, storage unit, chest of drawers, bookshelf, dining table and a chair.

Homewood romped home with a year’s free membership of Proudly South African, a year’s membership of the  Interior Design Professions, a Graphics Tablet, and an opportunity to participate in exhibitions.

Speaking on behalf of the students, Ms Michal Sushan said the trio was delighted for winning their category.

“We were happy to design something that comes from the soul and resonates with the young people and their economic needs. It  is authentically South African and appeals to  people from different backgrounds, cultures and interests,” said Sushan.

The students, who were all  doing their Honours in Industrial Design last year, designed a multipurpose furniture range which had a folding chair, table, and a couch with storage underneath.

“The three in combination created what we thought is what everyone one needs in an apartment whether it is for relaxing, socialising, eating, working or hosting people. All of them combined could be easily put away and stored if not in use. They were designed to save space in small apartments,” added Sushan.

the dtic is presenting the competition in partnership with Proudly South African, the South African Furniture Initiative, Coricraft Furniture, Mecad Solidworks, Furntech Centre of Excellence, Lewis Stores, the African Institute of Interior Designers and Tsogo Sun Hotels.

According to the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, who delivered the keynote address at the virtual event, the competition plays an important role in encouraging participation in the furniture industry, and  promoting the use of design to respond to changing living space, and the use of locally manufactured inputs.


Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
E-mail: MSMedupe@thedti.gov.za
Issued by: The Department of Trade,  Industry and Industry (the dtic)
Follow us on Twitter: @the_dti

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