The hunt for South Africa’s next hot young designer is on as Nando’s seeks a bench that responds to the times

Now in its third iteration, the much-awaited Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search (HYD) is once more underway. Entries are open, with the dual aim of unearthing fresh new designs and launching the careers of local emerging creatives.

Past editions of this supportive competition have called for lighting solutions and pattern designs and have helped propel their respective winners into the spotlight. The inaugural HYD, launched in 2015, was won by both Sam Foaden and Thabisa Mjo of Mash.T Designs. Mjo’s now-iconic Tutu 2.0 pendant fitting, that has since made its way into the South African design hall of fame. The Tutu 2.0 was named Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2018 Design Indaba and Mjo was jointly declared Designer of the Year at 100% Design South Africa 2019, alongside Mpho Vackier. Similarly, in 2018, graphic designer and illustrator Agrippa Mncedisi Hlophe scooped first prize at the second edition of the HYD thanks to a vibrant, flowing graphic design treatment that has found its way onto a range of surfaces in the interiors of Nando’s restaurants around the world.

Now, the 2020 edition of the competition will set new a benchmark by asking young creatives to respond sensitively to a seating solution in the time of social distancing. The COVID-19 pandemic has left much of the world with no choice but to maintain self-isolation – a momentous shift which will undoubtedly leave its mark on society. Once global lockdowns have lifted, it is likely that a level of social distancing will remain, even if temporarily…

Which in turn, impacts on how restaurants will cater to customers in terms of spatial design, layout and furniture. Every Nando’s Casa currently has a waiting bench for take-away patrons to sit on while their orders are fulfilled. Nando’s is asking the important question: “Could a bench adapt its current form to allow for social distancing?” The 2020 talent search is calling on aspiring furniture designers to imagine the future by designing a show-stopping bench that is true to the times.

Prospective entrants should consider how this bench could be easily adapted once the pandemic subsides and we can safely sit together once again. Importantly, the proposed bench design should serve as a reminder of the resilience of the African spirit, and a celebration of Southern Africa’s ever-evolving and eclectic design aesthetic.

Up-and-coming talents should not miss this career-launching opportunity to see their vision come alive. The winning entry will be developed into a prototype and then a final piece will be commissioned for a Nando’s restaurant interior. The prototyping and final bench cost will be sponsored by Nando’s, the end goal is to include the new bench design on The Portal to Africa, the Nando’s online buying platform.

To enter, visit for the online entry form and entry details.

To find out more about Clout, follow @clout_sadesign #clout_sadesign on social media.

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