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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Pic: Shritha Gungaya's photograph holder

Durban designer Shritha Gungaya comes third in national competition.

METAL is an annual New Designer Search pioneered by Carrol Boyes Functional Art. Every year, Carrol Boyes, arguably one of South Africa's most commercially successful product designers, invites aspiring designers to submit a three-dimensional prototype based on a particular theme.

For this year’s competition, themed FRAME, 250 aspiring product designers submitted their prototypes with the hopes of winning one of the cash prizes totalling R90,000 and a kick-start to their careers in product design.

The third place winner, 28-year-old Shritha Gungaya, was awarded the R15,000 cash prize for her design, Moisi. This Durbanite is currently in her 3rd year of Three-Dimensional Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and intends to forge a career in product design. Her contemporary design was inspired by the mould one might find growing on a slice of bread which, under a microscope, is surprisingly beautiful. The frame is interactive as it requires the user to mould it into shape before using. “This was my first assignment for the year so it seems to be a good start! I really enjoyed learning all the aspects of a design project in its entirety – including packaging design”, says Gungaya.

Placed second, design duo Sue Clark and Jens Juterbock entered ZigZag, which won them the R25,000 runner-up prize. The Pretoria based team, also chosen as finalists in the 2006 METAL initiative, are Directors of Equilibrium Studio Architects. The concept behind their carefully engineered design was to allow the user to expand it by “linking” the frames. The artists drew a careful balance between the aesthetics and structure of the piece, giving it a polished texture and finish. This clever design is modern and bold and functions well in narrow, space-limited areas. When asked their thoughts on their achievement, the couple said “We enter this competition for fun; it offers a release from our normal job. It opened up a new world to us and we plan to take it more seriously in future, as we broaden our horizons to product design”.

The winning designer, who has earned himself R50,000, is Johan du Toit, a 37-year-old industrial designer from Cape Town. Johan, a graduate from the Cape Peninsula University, is particularly talented in freehand sketching and visualisation and currently involved in the design and development of permanent and temporary in-store structures. His winning design, Tree, was inspired by the idea of a “family tree” so that one can attach images and mementos of one’s family and friends to the structure. Johan wanted the images to be movable so he opted for magnets as a placement tool. “Johan's design demonstrates his talent for interpreting the theme, FRAME, in a most unique manner. This work offers the user a playful and interactive approach as the attached images are able to constantly change position using magnets as a placement tool. The piece may also be constructed in any direction. It is cleverly functional, innovative and aesthetic,” says Carrol Boyes.

“I would like to thank all the designers who entered this year and look forward to seeing their submissions again for next year’s competition,” adds Carrol Boyes. Entries for METAL 2009 open on January 1, 2009. For more information and to view finalists, visit