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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE (article first published : 2006-03-4)

Switching on young design talent is the Sanlam/VISI Young South Africa Thinking Ahead design competition, now in its 2nd year. The spotlight falls on lighting, with this year’s theme On the Lighter Side challenging students from design schools across the country to play with light.

Students from the Durban Institute of Technology’s Design School will be first to display their forward-thinking lighting designs at Decorex Kzn taking place from March 18 to 21. Other tertiary institutions will be represented at Decorex in the Cape and Johannesburg.

The regional winners take home the Sanlam Young South Africa Thinking Ahead Award, as well as R5,000 prize money.

“Lighting design is the perfect playing field for forward thinking design students”, says Melanie Robinson, director of Decorex SA. “With nature influencing living spaces and the shape of contemporary design, we yearn to bring the splendour of natural day light into all corners of our homes. A house lacking in good lighting is like a designer outfit worn with old ‘slip-slops!

“The students are challenged to look into the future and create inspirational lighting pieces for the home of tomorrow; to think recycled materials, multi-functional and energy saving design. Although lateral thinking is important, the designs must be economical and integrate practical solutions with aesthetics.”

They can design any of the following: table lamps, floor lamps, ceiling lights, chandeliers, lampposts, spot lighting, garden lights, floor or wall lights.

According to Robinson the project is about experience and exposure. “Students are encouraged to think outside the usual norms for materials and design, with room to experiment freely. They also get the golden opportunity to show their talents to Decorex visitors and interact with the trade – perhaps securing their future as a designer.

Well-known exhibition stand designer Nicolas De Klerk will create the setting to showcase the lighting projects. A special chill out area - The Sanlam Linger Lounge - will also be illuminated by the student designs.

Other forward-thinking Decorex projects supporting South African design include the industry discussion forum TALK SHOW; the Decorex/Kizo Arts Awareness Programme, and special installations by members of SAGID, the SA Guild of Interior Designers. The new Decorex Limited product range, featuring home grown products by The Design Team and Pepper Plum, supports the local textile industry and community projects.

For enquiries on the Sanlam On the Lighter Side design competition contact Lyndal van Greunen, Decorex Special Projects on 011 549 8300, fax 011 549 8534 or e-mail: Lyndal@ThebeExhibitions.co.za or visit www.decorex.co.za




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