New Page 2
New Page 2

Economic Empowerment
Industrial Development
Trade, Export and Investment
Financial Assistance
Legislation and Business Regulation

Furniture Design Competition

Furniture Design Competition


The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) National Furniture Design Competition is now in its third year and aims to:

  • elevate the image of the furniture manufacturing industry in South Africa
  • enhance its competitiveness locally and abroad through new product development and differentiation
  • attract designers to the sector
  • reposition the industry
Furniture design is a skill that needs to be developed in this country and we believe that once the concept of design is adopted in the industry, it will reinvent the way business is done. The industry is becoming more customer-focused and requires innovative and skilled designers to meet customers' needs.

The competition was piloted in the 2014/15 financial year under the theme Limited Spaces and the winner was announced at the Design Indaba in February 2015. The competition has since grown and is receiving a lot of interest from students and manufacturers.

2016 Brief

the dti and its partners call on South African design students and professionals to submit entries for office furniture under the theme Collaborative and Innovative Workspaces. The work environment and use of space is constantly changing to respond to different needs. Designs must focus on, but not be limited to the following:

  • economising workspace
  • promoting innovation
  • interactive workspaces
  • informal environment
Compulsory Information to submit:
Entrants must submit the following in order to be considered:
  • a technical drawing of the product (design), including the final product dimensions and 3D drawings;
  • description of materials and inputs to be used in production (the use of local inputs is encouraged); and
  • a description of the design, including an explanation of the concept and motivation behind the design.
Terms and Conditions

the dti and its partners reserve the right to refuse entry of products that are not eligible or do not comply with applicable entry criteria, or that might put in question the reputation of the competition.

  • Only new concepts (designs) are eligible to enter.
  • The competition is ONLY open to students registered with South African academic institutions and locally based manufacturers.
  • Designers or design teams may enter products.
  • The names of all individuals involved in the design must be disclosed.
  • If the design has been patented or registered as a design, a copy of the first page of all registration certificates must be submitted with the entry.
  • The entry form must be completed in full and all compulsory documents must be submitted before the closing date.
  • Entries that do not comply with these requirements will be disqualified.
  • the dti and its partners will not be held accountable for product performance or design originality.
  • The panel of adjudicators and administrators of the competition undertake to handle all entries in the strictest confidence and not to disclose any information on entries to any other party. However, in the event of a product winning, the design may be made public to the media.
  • Although every reasonable precaution will be taken to ensure the safekeeping of products submitted, the dti and its partners cannot be liable for loss of or damage to any entry material.
  • The decision of the adjudicators is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • By entering this competition and signing the disclaimer, the entrant is agreeing to all above-mentioned conditions of entry.
Guidelines to Entry
  • No registration fee is required
  • Products design must be new, original and ready for production.
  • The theme of the competition, Collaborative and Innovative Workspaces, seeks to promote workplace solutions. Working environments and the use of workspace is constantly changing to respond to different needs. The designs must promote the use of local inputs.
  • Entrants must submit technical drawings of the product (including the final product dimensions and 3D drawings), a description of materials and inputs to be used in production, and a description of the design and concept behind the design.
  • Entrants may enter online or forward a hard copy of the entry form and all the compulsory information requested to address provided.
  • Multiple entries are possible as long as entry form for each is done separately.
  • Entry forms must be signed and mailed to the dti.
  • Compulsory information to submit:
    • Technical drawing of the product (technical drawings must include the final product dimensions and 3D drawings)
    • Description of materials to be used in production
    • Motivation and concept behind the design
  • Completed forms and compulsory information can also be e-mailed to; or forwarded or hand-delivered to:        
    Industrial Development Division
    Furniture Sector Desk
    Department of Trade and Industry
    1st Floor, Building A
    77 Meintjies Street
            Industrial Development Division
    Furniture Sector Desk
    Department of Trade and Industry
    Private Bag X84
Adjudication Criteria

  • The adjudication criteria and weighting thereof is decided by the judges in line with the annual theme and a scorecard will be used. The criteria focus on the following areas:
    • Concept behind the product
    • Functionality/usability of the product
    • Degree of innovation
    • Ease of manufacturing
    • Commercial viability
  • Judges will comprise industry experts and designers from other related fields
  • Judging will be done in two stages
  • The finalists will then be announced on/or before 14 October 2016 and invited to exhibit their pieces
  • Final judging will take place at the exhibition in February/March
  • Winners will be announced at the exhibition
  • Judges decision is final
Important Dates

  • Entries will open on 1 March 2016
  • Entries close on 5 September 2016
  • Finalists will be contacted telephonically and electronically
  • Finalists' products will be exhibited at the chosen exhibition in February/March 2017
  • Winners will be announced at the exhibition

Prizes include:

  • One-year internship for the winning student
  • An opportunity to participate and exhibit at the Inspire Expo for the winning manufacturer
  • Software prizes
  • Profiling of winners in relevant publications and media exposure
  • Design tools
Entry Forms Gallery and News