In 2022, the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative (www.1sixoneeight.co.za) celebrates 30 years of creativity and showcasing the work of up-and-coming South African architecture and interior design students.
The competition was first launched in 1992 and started out as a means to introduce third-year students to PG Bison’s products. Over three decades, it has grown into a respected educational initiative and a highlight on institution calendars. Many of the winners and finalists have achieved greatness.
“Winning this competition was an incredible tool to jumpstart my career,” says Callie van der Merwe, who won the first edition of the competition in 1992 and is now the founder of Design Partnership Australia.
Andrew Mboyi, the winner of the 2013 edition of the competition, is a designer working across multiple disciplines. “The PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative opened up a vast number of opportunities,” he says. “I’d go as far as saying it allowed me to pick who to work for, instead of waiting for employers to pick me.”
Lian Markham, Communications Manager at PG Bison, says that the 1.618 Education Initiative speaks to PG Bison’s strategy of being a purpose-led business that creates a positive social and environmental change.
“Architecture and interior design students will create the built environment of the future,” she says. “This competition is a way of not only allowing them the opportunity to experience a real-world brief without the pressures that usually come with one, but to expose them to important social themes to help them to understand the impact they can have in shaping the world we will all live in.”
The 2022 brief
Every year, a site is selected for the new competition brief based on where the previous year’s winner was studying. The 2021 winner, Zander Etienne Deysel, was studying architecture at Nelson Mandela University, so for 2022, the competition is set in the Kouga region. It’s themed “Living Big” and requires students to develop a proposal for a mixed-use residential and retail space for the Coega Development Corporation, with residential units of various sizes.
Nathaniel Wakefield, director at Batley Partners, a design-focused architecture and interior design consultancy based in Johannesburg, is one of the competition judges and helped to design the brief.
“The brief centres around finding a real-world solution to the real-world lack of housing problem for workers in the area. This solution must be a workable, adaptable and modular model for use elsewhere, where workers could live close to work and avoid spending exorbitant sums of money on transport,” he explains.
The winning student and their lecturer each win a cash prize of R50 000, while the runner-up takes home R25 000 and third-place wins R10 000. Entries for the event closed last month and the winner will be announced soon.
Images by PG Bison