Since winning ELLE Decoration’s SOLVE New Talent Search last year, Celeste De Kock’s life has been a whirlwind of activity. She’s been juggling a new job, refining her design under the mentorship of Haldane Martin and learning to use Rhino technical software. As the deadline for this year’s competition nears, we chatted to Celeste to see how things are going. (For those of you who still want to enter, there’s still time – but hurry as entries must be in by 1 August! Click here or scroll to the end of this post for more info!)

For your winning entry in 2010, you designed a bedside table. At what stage is product development? The design has been finalised (below), and I am looking forward to seeing the prototype made up. I will get really excited once I can touch and see my design in real life!What are your plans for the final product? I have decided to keep the product exclusive for bespoke projects and designers. There will be a choice of various finishes and colours – depending on the client’s specific need.

What was it like to work with Haldane Martin? Do you feel like you’ve been able to deepen your design skills since winning SOLVE 2010? Haldane has been really awesome and helpful… the biggest challenge initially was to get our diaries to match so we could meet. He showed me how to draw on Rhino, a very technical drawing program and something that I definitely needed to learn. It is just amazing to sit and work with one of your favourite designers.

We hear that you have a new job. What are you doing and how is it going? Yes! In December last year I started assisting an interior designer in Stellenbosch. I have always dreamed of being part of the interior design industry. My aim is to focus on product design for interior spaces. It is challenging to do something new, but if you really want something, you have to stick it out – the thing to ask yourself is: ‘How badly do you want it?’

Where do you get your inspiration? Nature, especially flowers. There are amazing designs found in nature.

Which other designer’s work do you admire? Gregor Jenkin.


Dream collaboration? I’ll see what comes my way… I am quite open to something crazy and fun.

What is your advice to young designers thinking of entering this year’s SOLVE competition? There is so much talent out there, but you can also make a contribution to design if you believe in yourself….

Contact Celeste on 072 944 0981;

ATTENTION 2011 ENTRANTS: The deadline for this year’s SOLVE New Talent Search, brought to you by Boardmans, is this Monday, 1 August! The brief this year is to design an award-winning stool. We’re looking for something that has integrity and individuality – a home-grown product to be proud of. Click here for all the entry requirements. Good luck!