Condom applicator comes first

Roelf Mulder of …XYZ Design wins Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2007 for his condom applicator at the Design Indaba Expo.

Roelf Mulder of …XYZ Design wins Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2007 for his condom applicator at the Design Indaba Expo.

The judge was Jurgen Bey, a leading Dutch product designer and a speaker at the Design Indaba Conference (21-23 February 2007) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The condom applicator has been described by Design Indaba Expo curator Bernard George Smith, of the CSIR in Pretoria, as "one of those rare products that bridges the divide between social, cultural, economic and international barriers by solving a problem common to all. (it is) a small product that could have one of the biggest impacts on our social, cultural and economic future."

Designer Mulder said, when the curator panel first selected the applicator: "It has taken years of work to develop this product and I am really gratified that it has been chosen. Many people have been enthusiastic about the idea, but developing a design that fulfils all criteria and attracts investors has been a lonely road. This accolade reflects a mature response to design – it acknowledges that not only the physical appearance of a product is important, but also takes into account its social and economic potential. These are all vital parts of the mix that add up to a beautiful product."

The initial design for the condom applicator is already in production, and Mulder is confident that the second, more refined model – which will be on display and demonstrated at the Design Indaba Expo by an anti-Aids educational forum – will shortly also receive financial backing.

The retail price is R28-R30 for a package of three condoms and applicators.

The condom applicator is one of 15 objects exhibited as a finalist for the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa award at the Design Indaba Expo, carrying Department of Arts and Culture branding.

Design Indaba Expo 2007 content manager Lauren Shantall explains: "A high-profile curator panel made up of leading South African designers, critics, stylists and editors evaluates all exhibitors before they may show their designs at the Expo. Each curator was asked to name the particular object at the Expo they considered the most beautiful."

At least 112 top retail buyers – 66 from overseas – will enjoy a private morning viewing of the Expo on Friday. They will be sourcing stunning SA furniture, lighting, jewellery, fashion, ceramics and other products for their stores.

About 20 000 members of the public are also expected to view and buy local designs at the Expo.