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NW Design Student Aims to Break Stereotypes 

Ms Nicolette Risaba, a 23-year-old North West design student, says that she aims to break conventional career stereotypes by proving that the arts and design can also be pursued as a sustainable and productive career path.

Risaba is a third-year Interior Designing Diploma student at Potchefstroom Academy. She is one of the seven finalists of the 5th annual Furniture Design Competition who will be exhibiting their designs at the Johannesburg Homemakers Expo taking place at the Ticketpro Dome from 22-25 February 2018.

The Furniture Design Competition is a creation of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). It aims to identify new talent in the sector and elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities both locally and abroad.

Risaba describes her Blocks Uncubed concept as having been inspired by the Rubik’s Cube game of the 1980’s craze.

“Being a student, I was in the process of moving places. One thing I found challenging was storing small item pieces, including my books. I had to purchase boxes which was costly, and I had to throw them away in the end. I thought to myself, there must be an easier way to packing things while in the process of moving. That is when the Blocks Uncubed idea was born,” she says.

Risaba adds that the Blocks Uncubed concept is a functional movable furniture piece that can store stationery, be used as a chair or table or be stacked together to be used as shelves.

“It is specifically targeted at students to provide for ease of moving where otherwise boxes would have had to be bought for that function. Each and every piece is movable and it can be taken apart. The structure itself will be made of plywood, metal and magnets and all materials to produce it are readily available in South Africa,” says Risaba.

On outlining future plans, Risaba adds that she would like to realise the mass production of her Blocks Uncubed design and establishing her own interior design company.

“I feel that it is also through creativity and the arts that we can grow South Africa’s economy, and not only through careers thought of as conventional. I would like my business to be a one-stop shop where I will design furniture, manufacture and supply to a host of clients.

The 5th annual Furniture Design Competition winners will be crowned at the Johannesburg Homemakers Expo on Friday, 23 February 2018.

Nicolette Risaba with her Blocks Uncubed-inspired design that she will be exhibiting at the 5th annual Furniture Design Competition.
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Tel: (012) 394 1650
Mobile: 079 492 1774
Issued by: The Department of Trade and Industry
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