Design Indaba Expo: Most Beautiful Object in South Africa

The finalists for Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2008 award have been announced.

The finalists for Design Indaba's Most Beautiful Object in South Africa award have been announced. Place your vote via SMS at the Design Indaba Expo from February 23 to 26, 2008, or vote on The Times website.

The award asks our diverse country: "What is beauty?" While some may consider it an aspect of taste and others know it on sight, beauty becomes far more profound than a visual sensation when design characteristics such as social significance, economic impact, aesthetic value, humanist intuitions, lifestyle functioning and sustainability are thrown into the mix.

Different to previous incarnations of the award, the 2008 MBOISA will be posing this question of beauty directly to the public. For the first time, visitors to the Design Indaba Expo will vote via SMS - and stand in line to win a prize themselves.

The winner will be announced in the fashion arena at DeSsign Indaba Expo on February 26 at 3pm.

The competition promises to be fierce. What will the country's consensus be? Will luxury, making life easier, basic human needs, entertainment or even sheer folly be triumphant in the ultimate beauty contest?

The contestants:

Nested Bunk Bed - Tsai Design Studio
 Living space is at a premium in South Africa's townships - it's not unusual for six to eight people to share 36 square metres of space. The Nested Bunk Bed offers a space solution for overcrowded, low-cost houses. Sections of the Nested Bunk Bed can be pulled out to serve a number of purposes, such as a sofa for two, grandstand seating, or five beds that can be packed away into a standard bunk bed area. When fully extended, the bed system can sleep 20 children in a tight space of 50 square metres, as well as providing play space when the beds are retracted.
Succulent Cushion - Ronel Jordaan
 The South African textile designer Ronel Jordaan's succulent cushion offers an appealing blend of function and whimsy. The cushion is based on the local succulent plant Echevaria . The petals have the same woolly, spongy feel as the well-known plant. They are individually hand felted and assembled by women from different SA tribal groupings in a studio in Johannesburg.
Voëls Op 'n Tak - Daan Samuels
 Daan Samuels hails from Velddrif on the West Coast and draws his inspiration from the bird life along that unspoilt stretch of coast. He has traditionally carved driftwood into bird-forms, and now also incorporates untouched driftwood into his Found Wood sculptures.He was recognised as a Western Cape Craft Icon in 2005 by the Cape Craft and Design Institute.
Ozo Bowl - Juanita Oosthuizen
 Designed by Juanita at Pepper Plum Designs, this contemporary OZO bowl is stylish and practical. Made from a single piece of polypropylene and two plastic rings, it unfolds into a flat sheet for easy storage. The concept was inspired by the need for simple, easy-to-use and easy-to-store objects that will complement any home style.
Ring - Philippe Bousquet
 Is it a ring, a lighting idea, both or something else entirely? Phillip Bousquet's delightful ring entails a set diamond ringed with citrine inside a glass bulb, completing the design with silver detail. Wear it and be enlightened.
Lamp - Philippe Bousquet
 Society produces and wastes a lot of materials and working with these revitalises ideas about design and beauty. The rules to making this lamp were simple: no welding and nothing new added (except the electric wiring and bulb for safety). Everything had to come from scrap metal places or wasted materials from factories, junk shops, antique dealers and so on. Half a steel manual petrol pump forms the centerpiece of the lamp. The other parts come from an aluminum hand massage machine, a piece of an engine (unknown in rusted iron) for the head, a stainless steel tube and a steel base from an old spinning factory.
Urban Soul - Clementina Van Der Walt
 These four drinking cups are moulded using charcoal casting-slip and then distorted. The surfaces are individually hand-painted with slip and transparent glaze. Marks and textures are inspired by the energy and visual images of the city. Drinking from these cups is a tactile, meditative experience, symbolic of the quietness within, despite the frenetic energy of the 21st century.
Stitched Light - Lisa Firer
 These stitched lights have taken their inspiration from layered fabric, badges on denim jackets, local flora and lacy florals. Lisa Firer has used embossed and impressed slab-built porcelain clay to create lights that offer a delicate luminosity and impress with a sense of papery whimsy.
Untitled - Pwhoa
 Playing with exaggerated silhouettes reminiscent of birds, most desirable object from PWHOA, by Richard de Jager, offers protection to the wearer, arming him or her with power dressing that's just as easy to put on as a pullover.
Untitled - Mantsho
 Pushing the boundaries of the technical and the practical, Palesa Mokubung of Mantsho has fused two of her pieces - the multi-collared jacket and the fitted dress - to create a strong, vibrant statement through exaggeration.

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