Meet 2020’s 1.618 Judges: Dale Friedman

On the 18th of September, entries closed for the annual PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative, which this year is celebrating its twenty-eighth year of offering South African design and architecture students an incredible opportunity to partake in a prestigious, country-wide professional design competition. Keep an eye out for our announcement of this year’s top ten finalists.

This year, the prize could bolster the start of a young professional’s career significantly, with the winning student and their lecturer each receiving a R 50 000 cash prize, in lieu of the competition’s usual trip to Milan’s Salone del Mobile, which had to be revised due to COVID-19.

While students, lecturers and industry insiders across the country await our judges’ decision from what is sure to be yet another strong field of entries, we wanted to introduce you to our judges. Today we are introducing Dale Friedman from Paragon Interface, part of the Paragon Group, an internationally active African design business that specialises in workplace strategies, space planning, interior design, and architecture.

This is Dale’s third year in a row as a judge for the 1.618 Education Initiative. He says he continues to be involved because it is important for him to see the young architecture and design talent that is out there. He adds that this initiative is also important for students to start understanding and comparing themselves on a competitive level within the market.

Dale knows all about remaining competitive in a challenging market. His prestigious project list includes such landmarks as Sasol’s Sandton office buildings and the Sage offices in Midrand. Whether he is working on a 100 square-metre or to 110 000 square-metre space, his foremost concern is with creating something that brings value to the client’s company. This is his advice young designers in the industry too. “Design an environment that is safe and well-thought-out, something that excites the people that it is designed for and enriches their lives,” he says. Dale’s particular expertise is in interior design, workplace strategy and space planning, optimising workspaces and ensuring that the space is not merely beautiful but functional, thereby saving his clients millions on rental spaces year-on-year. As a judge for the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative, Dale values the input of lecturers in the initiative, but says he’s also looking for students who stand out as passionate designers in their own right. “I want to see who you are, and how you sell your design to us,” he says.