Meet 2020’s 1.618 Judges: Mardre Meyer

2020 has been a tough year, but the design students who entered this year’s PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative rose to the challenge, submitting innovative, well-thought-out entries, in spite of the trying impact that the pandemic-necessitated lockdown has had on their studies.

On 14 October, the top ten finalists of the 1.618 Education Initiative were announced and while they, and we, eagerly await the judges’ decision on the winners, we wanted to introduce you to another one of the esteemed judges who will be making the decision: first-time judge Mardre Meyer, Creative Director of Source Interior Brand Architects.

Source IBA is a commercial design studio that specialises in giving three-dimensional expression to two-dimensional brand language. As a commercial design specialist, Mardre is the perfect judge for this year’s competition design space, a community-based workspace in the Lower Baakens Valley, Port Elizabeth that serves as an incubator environment for small businesses, comprising manufacturing, retail, and hospitality brands.

Mardre and Source IBA focus strongly on brand expression in three-dimensional spaces, ensuring that the client’s brand identity is reflected in their spaces, whether that be a workspace or a storefront. In this respect, Mardre offers some excellent advice for young designers entering the industry:

Know your brand,” he stresses, “make sure that you understand the brand for which you are designing, intuitively. Once you understand your brand, you don’t have to overthink your design.”

Mardre says that, sometimes, inexperienced designers overly focus on producing immaculate renders, while their design does not have a clear, brand-appropriate narrative. His advice for young designers is to ensure that they create a coherent storyline that is carried all the way through the design process—from branding elements, to three-dimensional expression, to how the space interacts with its community.

Mardre also shared with us his thoughts on reinventing spaces, a discussion which is becoming increasingly relevant in South Africa, as previously derelict spaces are reinvigorated. He emphasises the importance of having respect for the space that was there, preserving a memory of it, while not unmindfully retaining pre-existing elements simply because they were there, as doing so can kill a design. “The genius of good design,” he says, “is in being able to find the elements that should remain of the existing structure in order to serve the current use.”