SOLVE competition 2015

It gives us great pleasure to announce the top four finalists for SOLVE 2015 Design Competition, in proud association with Adams & Adams. The winner will be announced at a private awards evening this week at Skinny Legs, so watch this space!

 The judges have encouraged aspiring young designers across all spheres to not conform and not be hesitant to pursue designs that reflect their South African design origins. Mariëtte du Plessis, SOLVE 2015 judge, partner at Adams and Adams.

To recap, the ELLE Decoration SOLVE competition is the ultimate search for new talent. This year, the brief was When Design Meets Craft:

Design is a relatively modern discipline, while craft is an ancient practice; the challenge is to combine the two. This year’s competition requires a designer and a crafter to collaborate in designing a product for either the home or the garden that integrates design with craft.
The judging criteria will be based on the success of the collaboration and the integration of craft and design, as well as the originality and functionality of the product.

Allow us to introduce the talented finalists for SOLVE 2015:

Lara Hooper + Wellington Moyo: Umuzi Pendant Light

Lara Hooper + Wellington Moyo: Umuzi Pendant Light
Lara Hooper + Wellington Moyo: Umuzi Pendant Light

Ndebele-inspired, the Umuzi Pendant Light is a striking light made from a black wire frame that is covered with intricate threads of waxy, colourful rose-pink and military green string. 

The name, Umuzi, comes from the Ndebele culture, which refers to residential units characterised by their striking artworks painted by women.

‘At the heart of African creativity lies collaboration, which was an avenue I hadn’t really explored much before. Producing this prototype came with a myriad challenges which I overcame by working together with a very skilled crafter, Welllington. The combination of the solutions to practical design challenges,  together with the Afrocentric aesthetic I was celebrating, meant that my design evolved; the final result is a exciting mix of geometric shapes, unusual textures and vibrant colours.’

A message to other young aspiring designers?

Have a creative open mind when it comes to working through a design process, especially when you are working on a prototype.

You often ‘hit walls’ and need to make changes to the design.

Collaboration is key when working on a project such as this as there is always an opportunity for innovation. Lastly, perseverance and hard work always pay off.

Instagram:@luhooper | Twitter: @LaraHooper  | Email:

Janes Botha + Stefan Hefer | The Whippet Table

Janes Botha + Stefan Hefer | The Whippet Table
Janes Botha + Stefan Hefer | The Whippet Table

The Whippet Table plays with the relationship between the table’s form and materiality, providing a quirky answer to gravity. Aesthetically, this piece gives a sense of bold athleticism, but it is in its every day use that it becomes a dignified workhorse, serving as a writing desk, consultation desk or meeting table.

‘The table shows how the reinterpretation of conceptually defined variables, can lead to the development of a unique identity in an object.  This process started on paper and ended in the factory with both designer and crafter adding the beautiful complexity of the design.’

What advice do you have for other aspiring designers?

The complexity of the design process and the complexity of the designed object are two distinctly different entities. The creative process should always be complex: this is the way we simulate, compare and justify the validity of the designed object before manufacturing. It, however, takes finesse, skill and perseverance to translate all this creative decision-making into a relevant physical object! If my work is perceived to be relevant in this sense, I would consider it a job well done!

Janes Botha | Instagram:
Stefan Hefer from Funkt Woodwork | Web: | Email:

Maria Uys + Larita Engelbrecht:  The Loop light

Maria Uys + Larita Engelbrecht: The Loop light
Maria Uys + Larita Engelbrecht: The Loop light

The Loop Light is a lightweight, portable and safe battery powered mood light. The malleability of the medium allows the shape of the light to be manipulated. It can be wall-mounted  or hung, and is ideal for creating an imaginative atmosphere in a garden or a dim indoor space.

We were delighted to see how our initial playful collaborative experiments resolved into the final product. The process of sharing skills was meaningful, and we both learned quite a number of unexpected skills from one another.

‘The Loop Light speaks a universal language of design and science combined to make beautiful, functional objects. The work shows that South Africa is at a global level in terms of design, and we are inspired to create things here that are influenced by both of our cultural roots, as well as Westernised disciplines.’

Maria Uys | Instagram: @afrigarde | Twitter: @afrigarde | | Email:
Larita Engelbrecht | Twitter: @larita_engel |

Stacey Ireland + Giepie Steyn: #Shelfie shelving system


#SHELFIE is a modular, interchangeable and customisable shelf system for at home, at work or at play. This eco-friendly concept promotes sustainabe design integrated with craft methods.

‘I am very pleased with – and relieved about – the outcome of my entry. The manufacturing process of the #SHELFIE shelving system was a rewarding and humbling experience. Each step taught me about the nature of craftsmanship, and more particularly, the power of a prototype. In my opinion, there is nothing quite like witnessing a design’s journey from paper to production.

How would you describe your work?

I design with the purpose and hope that others can relate to my designs. My wish is for people to feel the love and energy I put into my work, while being able to understand and appreciate the reasoning behind my material choices. More than anything, I wish for people to not only see my work, but experience it.

Stacey Ireland | Instagram: @stacey_c_ireland | Email:
Giepie Steyn from Nexus Interiors |


Adams & Adams is the largest intellectual property law practice in the southern hemisphere, as well as one of the biggest corporate and commercial law firms in South Africa. Adams & Adams has supported the creative industry for many years. having been an associate sponsor of the Design Indaba and The Loeries for the past 3 years. Passionate about the protection of innovative designs, the firm has been very active in advising emerging young designers on how to protect their designs and to avoid the many pitfalls of the business world. The top 3 finalists will each receive a free consultation with one of our experts. We shall be looking for new, unique and fresh designs. Ideally these should be commercially viable both locally and internationally.

We are proud to collaborate with ELLE Decoration on the SOLVE 2015 Competition and to alert designers about their intellectual property (“IP”) rights and to encourage them to protect their designs.’
Elle Decoration- SOLVE