In light of Youth Day on June 16th, we’re talking all things ‘next generation’. With ELLE DECO’s endless goal to look out for the next big name in the creative field, we sat down with the people who help shape these young minds.

If you have your eye on interior design but aren’t sure what route to take or how to make a success of it, we’ve tapped into the expertise of interior design lecturers and heads of departments across the country.

Maretha Olivier – Vega Programme Navigator: Interior Design (Gauteng)

What excites you most about the design scene (and perhaps, specifically) in South Africa?

Collaboration! Designers collaborating/co-designing with their clients to create solutions to current problems. Students collaborating with industry partners (potential clients and local designers) and designers collaborating with local artisans. The increase in collaboration is changing the very nature of design. A human-centred collaborative approach to solving problems allows Interior Designers to positively disrupt the South African design scene to come up with innovative ideas and designs.

How does this translate to Gauteng? Could we not rather re-word the question to How does this translate to design education?

Vega students studying at our campuses (two being in Gauteng- Pretoria and Johannesburg) are constantly immersed in live collaborative briefs from industry clients. As a result, when they graduate they are already well-versed in the turbulence of ‘the real world’ and slot seamlessly into any industry environment. An IIE Vega student graduates with a deep understanding that the most effective strategy is inherently creative.

What do you love most about working with young creatives?

Young creatives are critical thinkers. I love their ability to solve complex problems through their capacity to be adjustable, creative and innovative!

What advice do you have for interior design students who want to make a name for themselves?

Who you know is just, if not more, important as what you know. Find yourself a mentor from industry to collaborate with and find inspiration from. Immerse yourself in the industry. Continue to engage in these opportunities to acquire workplace exposure and experience. Be involved, be seen, be everywhere. The IIE BA in Interior Design is a 3-year full-time degree delivered at Vega campuses in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. The IIE BA Degree in Interior Design has specifically been designed to meet the requirements of the challenging and expanding fields of Interior Design. Vega is a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE). #FindYourPurpose.

vegaschool.com

Jaimie Corbishley – acting academic head and facilitator: BHC (Cape Town)

What excites you most about the design scene (and perhaps, specifically) in South Africa?

South African designers have really started to embrace and develop their own unique styles. A few years ago everyone was copying international styles, these days South Africans are producing designs that are unique to our country. “South African” has become a design style and it is an exciting time for designers to enter (and already exist in)the industry. The movement towards collaborating with different professionals in the design field. There seems to be a move towards ‘relationship’ building within the field – a working together. There also seems to be more appreciation for craft.

How does this translate to Cape Town?

We have some local designers that are really pushing the boundaries when it comes to original concepts. Think of someone like Tracy Lee Lynch – her interiors are completely unique and has awakened a new spirit in the Nando’s franchise. Her work is so eclectic and that makes her stand out. This type of approach will push the boundaries since the days of “blending in” are gone, everyone wants to “stand out”. We also love seeing the collaboration of local designers happening in Cape Town.

What do you love most about working with young creatives?

In the same way that we try to inspire them, they inspire us. It is very rewarding when a student develops a great concept and takes it right through to the end product. Young creatives have an immense about of energy. They have their futures in front of them, often with a lot of passion. They understand the ‘current’ needs of this generation.
 

What advice do you have for interior design students who want to make a name for themselves?

Work in the industry under someone first! Experience, experience, experience. And take risks! Dive in there. Listen to people – give people (especially clients) the time of day. Don’t be fixed on your own ideas. Think out the box. Consider the environment. Take note of the trends but at end of the day, you will need to find and develop your own style. This is what will make you happy and you’ll start to attract clients who will appreciate your style. Design is a passion, not necessarily the best paid career but definitely a very rewarding one.
designschool.co.za

Michael Barratt – Vega Programme Navigator: Interior Design (Durban)

What excites you most about the design scene (and perhaps, specifically) in South Africa?

Collaborating with local artisans- be it amateur or professional. Allowing us to positively disrupt the scene to come up with innovative ideas and designs.

How does this translate to Durban?

In working with local traders and talented craftspersons who are determined to keep Durban a tourist mecca, continue to highlight the diversity and multicultural community.

What do you love most about working with young creatives?

Their way of communicating and how sometimes it’s baffling and sometimes it’s on point. That, and their continual ability to multitask and share information through technology.

What advice do you have for interior design students who want to make a name for themselves?

Be innovative and disrupt the status quo. Continue to use your complex methods of communication to foster new relationships and sharing ideas.
vegaschool.com

 

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