PG Bison‘s 1.618 Education Initiative launched its 2019 student roadshows on Friday 22 February in Cape Town, with a presentation on the 2019 design brief to the third-year students and their lecturer, Marga de Vos, at BHC School of Design in Woodstock.

“The class of almost 30 students were engaged and interested in the 2019 competition brief,” says PG Bison’s Lian Markham. “There is much anticipation around this competition brief and we are looking forward to launching it to other architecture and design institutions around the country over the next few weeks and months.”

The 1.618 Education Initiative is an annual design competition run by PG Bison that is now in its 27th year. The aim, Markham explains, is to function as a design enabler and to provide the means through which designers can realise their ideas. “By helping develop new design talent, PG Bison can contribute to the fields of design and architecture and, ultimately, to a better built environment,” she says.

How the competition works

Third-year students are challenged to design a response to a semi-fictional brief that has been crafted by PG Bison with the assistance of two of the members of the judging panel – renowned architect Phil Mashabane and esteemed interior designer, Dale Friedman. The brief is different every year. Briefs have ranged from design solutions to social challenges to ideas for enhancing historical buildings.

PG Bison collects all entries submitted before the deadline. These are then collectively judged in an anonymous process by a panel of industry experts, who select 10 finalists from the hundreds of entries received.

The finalists are hosted in Johannesburg for the gala awards evening, where their work is showcased to the audience, which includes architects, designers and academics. The finalists enjoy the chance to meet and network with industry leaders, and gain valuable exposure that often results in career opportunities.

The gala culminates in an awards ceremony, where the winner and runners-up are announced. The winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to the International Furniture Fair in Milan, Italy, along with his or her lecturer. Second place secures an all-expenses paid trip to the Design Indaba in Cape Town as well as a cash reward. There are also cash rewards for third place and for each of the finalists.

To get a taste of the process, watch this video from the 2018 judging day: