Kayla’s Design Indaba Experience

Kayla Vieira was the 2018 runner-up of PG Bison’s annual 1.618 Education Initiative. She won an all-expenses paid trip to the 2019 Design Indaba in Cape Town plus R3 000 in cash. We chatted to Kayla about her experience of the 2019 Design Indaba, which took place from 27 February to 1 March, as well as how taking part in the 1.618 Education Initiative has impacted her career.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Kayla.

I recently qualified as an interior designer in 2018. I studied at a private institute by the name of Vega, in Johannesburg. At the age of 21, I have just started my career as an interior designer at a company by the name of Paragon Interface. I owe credit to PG Bison for providing a platform which has proven to kickstart my career as a young designer through the aid of their 1.618 Education Initiative. The competition has created great exposure for me, which landed me a job at Paragon Interface.

What were you expecting before you left Johannesburg for Design Indaba? What was your first day like?

I was excited about the experience to come as I didn’t know what to expect, and it’s always exciting to travel. Once I arrived, I took a moment to settle in. I had some tea and muffins by the harbour of the hotel before heading off to Design Indaba. Upon arrival, I felt a bit lost but once I sat through my first conference I was thoroughly enjoying the experience. I particularly enjoyed Mr Dong-Ping Wong’s talk as it was very fun and interactive, and it broadened my insight about design and its importance in the world. I was also intrigued by the projects he had worked on and his design approach and way of thinking. After the conference, I headed back to the hotel to have a bit of a break before going out for dinner with a relative.

What did you get up to for the rest of the conference?

On Thursday, I took some time to walk around and see a few of the exhibitions and take in a bit of the live music playing. I’d have to say that my favourite talks of the day were that of John Pawson and Markus Kayser. I found Markus Kayser to be an interesting designer as his work is unique and his design execution is original. I thought his concept of Fiberbots could be quite a game changer in the context of architecture.

I enjoyed John Pawson’s design aesthetic as it was very minimal, yet it made a bold statement. His overall humour was enjoyable throughout his presentation.

Once I made my way back to the hotel, I took a bit of time to relax before ending off the evening with dinner at the hotel restaurant.

On Friday, I found Yuri Suzuki’s talk to be interesting. I enjoyed his experiments with sound and thought that his approach to creating art through the collaboration of sound was something different.

We’re so glad you enjoyed the experience, Kayla! We look forward to seeing more of your work at Paragon Interface.

About Kayla’s 1.618 Education Initiative submission

The brief for the 2018 competition was to transform the old ‘Coke House’ at the now defunct Johannesburg Gas Works into a modern multipurpose exhibition space, focused on human interaction and showcasing a changing seasonal display of art and design. The brief instructed students to blend the historic landmark with new, modern and sustainable awareness of its environment while representing an ever changing and forward-thinking Johannesburg.

Kayla’s entry deftly tied together the building’s historical past and the city’s future as a vibrant cultural centre with an intervention based on the concept of a “modern mineshaft”. Kayla introduced an abstracted interpretation of a mineshaft, in reference to the building’s original function of supplying gas to the mining industry, to form a vortex-shaped sculptural form in the centre of the main volume of the “Coke House”. “I wanted to create a space that spoke to the historic essence of the building,” says Kayla. “But I also wanted to create a space that spoke to the new Johannesburg, which is vibrant and cultural.”

“I really enjoyed participating,” she says. “I had no expectations, so coming second was more that I could have imagined. I really enjoyed working on the brief. It allowed for a lot of creativity, which was a lot of fun.”

To see more about the event, the other finalists and their entries, visit the 1.618 Education Initiative site, or visit the Facebook page.