Bay designers win top honours

A NELSON Mandela Metropolitan University alumnus and a student have won R30000 each in the first Cobra Design Competition.

Third-year architecture student Andrew Mboyi and Leigh Mclaren, a candidate architect at b4 Architects in Walmer, walked away with top honours in the student and professional categories for their tap/mixer designs, named Edge and Ceramic Lace respectively.

The competition brief asked designers to create a tap that was new and innovative, but also incorporated water conservation technologies, was in compliance with South African National Standards and manufactured and marketable for Cobra's new range.

"It felt amazing. I did not expect to win as the other contenders were very good," Mclaren said. Her eco-awareness design featured a cylindrical-shaped spout encased in white ceramic. "By using clay as the material, the design is more environmentally friendly as well as bringing something different to the aesthetics of the tap," Mclaren said. The young winner said she planned to save her winnings or travel.

Mboyi's idea behind his electric tap was to create a product that was both timeless in its design and sustainable.

"... utilising digital systems to monitor, manage and create a general awareness on water usage was a big factor in the design," he said.

Mboyi plans to use his winnings to help his mother buy a computer and pay his academic fees.

"I had to conquer my nerves before my speech and then I found out I came out tops among very stiff competition. It felt amazing," he said.

The two designs received high praise from the judges, with comments that Mclaren's design was "undeniably innovative" and an "unexpected design concept as far as the aesthetic went".

Cobra product manager Ramielle De Jager said: "Andrew's electronic tap met the brief perfectly.

"Electronic taps are not new, they're mostly designed for and used in commercial buildings. Yet it is in residential homes where they could be most beneficial in terms of saving energy and water."