16 March 2017

South Africa: May the Best Furniture Win

Pretoria — Furniture designers will battle it out next week at the annual Furniture Design Competition hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The competition is hosted in partnership with the South African Furniture Initiative (SAFI) and its partners. It is one of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) furniture programmes to respond to the design skills shortage in the furniture industry.

"The main objective of the design competition is to raise and nurture design capabilities in the furniture sector, raise the image of the furniture manufacturing industry in the country, to reposition and to grow the industry's competitiveness by encouraging new product design and differentiation," said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on Wednesday.

The competition will take place in Durban on 20 March 2017.

Competitors will compete in three categories, which are the student, the established manufactures categories and the newly introduced development category.

Minister Davies said the exhibition and announcement of the winners will take place alongside the Durban Decorex, scheduled to take place from 18 - 21 March 2017.

"This year's theme, 'Collaborative and Innovative Workspaces', seeks to provide collaborative and innovative workspace solutions. This theme seeks to address the changes in workspaces and align this with how people interact in the work environment," said Minister Davies.

According to the dti, the competition will benefit the industry and influence products manufactured locally, promote industrial growth through differentiated products, as well as the use of local inputs such as wood and textiles in the furniture manufacturing sector.

The finalists of the design competition hail mainly from Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the North West. They include current and former students, established manufactures as well as new designers.

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