Design Foundation Awards launch first open call for submissions

For the first time since their inception, the Design Foundation Awards is opening up submissions directly to the design industry and public. For just one month (19 January – 19 February), designers can motivate why they (or someone else) should win one of seven awards by submitting their work online here.

Established in 2012, the prestigious Design Foundation Awards laud the industry’s top achievers in design, manufacture, commercial success and innovation, while also recognising the potential in South Africa’s future stars. Acknowledging achievers in this industry not only places a spotlight on what design businesses are capable of, but allows those outside the industry to start placing more value on the commercial viability, social impact and strategic importance that design can have on economic success and global identity.

In prior years, nominations came only from previous winners, the foundation’s board and an independent panel of experts (magazine editors, tertiary-level educators, curators and industry leaders). Making the submissions process public ensures no stone is left unturned in seeking out the most compelling creators from every corner of our country. The profusion of new design businesses and creative projects that have sprung up in recent years makes this an especially timely move.

“When we started these awards, there were many awards for other design disciplines – architecture and graphic, digital and fashion design – but very few dedicated to recognising the specific achievements and various role-players in the furniture and product design industry in a targeted way,” said Trevyn McGowan, chief executive officer of The Guild Group, who co-founded the Design Foundation to unify the industry and assist designers with funding, mentorships and business advice. “Since then, there has been such growth in the quality, number and originality of products being marketed and so much good work being done, particularly in the social-impact sector. We want to hear from all of them.”

The 2018/2019 Design Foundation Award winners will be announced on 9 March at a ceremony at GUILD in the Silo District, an event that has become a highlight on the local design calendar bringing together more than 400 industry trailblazers. Sponsors of this year’s awards include BMWKroneM&C Saatchi100% Design and VISI.

How to enter: Click here for instructions and award criteria. Entries close on Monday, 19 February 2019.

The seven Design Foundation Awards are:

The Icon Award recognises outstanding achievement, innovation and advancement of career and business practice by a globally regarded South African designer. A unique voice producing work with a narrative that, unencumbered by trend-driven aesthetics, strives to create a new vernacular.

The Object That Moves Award recognises an advanced and original product evaluated on aesthetic appearance, quality, innovation, and, very importantly, commercial success. The product is inspirational, aspirational and at the top end of the market, yet commercially viable enough to sell in multiple numbers.

The Maker to Market Award recognises a designer that understands the value of brand-building and identity, marketing, consumer interaction, packaging and customer service – essentially, the many processes that take place between studio production and successful delivery to the end user.

The Design With Purpose Award celebrates socially responsible and environmentally sustainable work done by a company or designer within the South African landscape, with a focus on design sensibilities. A project, initiative, or way of working that is making a difference in the lives of communities.

The Future Found Award recognises a young designer who has shown innovation and has already achieved a degree of excellence with limited resources. Aims to assist them to put necessary infrastructures in place, to improve their visibility and output, and to support design and production development.

The Manufacture Award is given in recognition of the approach a manufacturer has taken to the design industry in general, and in particular, for being willing to meet the special needs of designers outside of their regular manufacturing processes.

The Apprentice Award places an outstanding design graduate in a 6-12 month apprenticeship with a top design company. Must have graduated from a tertiary institution in the past 2 years, achieved excellence, come highly recommended by their school and be willing to work in a team/studio.

About the Design Foundation The Design Foundation is an impact-focused, professionally led, independent body created to make an immediate difference to the South African design industry. The foundation is non-profit and sponsor-funded, and is led by an illustrious think tank board of highly respected industry figures enabled to award funding, recognise achievements and act as a conduit between business and design.



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