Meet the 1.618 judges for 2021: Livia Coetzee-Stein

Livia Coetzee-Stein is the Creative Executive at DHQ Interior Brand Architects. This is Livia’s third year as part of the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative judging panel. With extensive industry experience and a special interest in the hospitality and retail sector, Livia is sought after as a designer and judge. She was part of the first-round judging panel for the South African Council of Shopping Centre’s Retail Design and Development Awards (this year and last year) and has worked with Vega School on developing a brief for its Collab session with the interior design students.

Livia is committed to the mentorship and development of young designers and believes that “as industry professionals we need to invest more time with students to ensure we share our experience, skills and knowledge with them as they navigate through their qualification.”

Here are her insights into this year’s competition.

As one of the people involved in developing the 2020 brief, what were some of your reflections on how that was interpreted in the competition itself.

Creating a brief that appeals at student level to both architects and interior designers has challenges. However, it was clear that the finalists were flexible in their approach to the solution and focused largely on the context of the environment, the parameters and limitations as well as what appeals to the target market. Some of the submissions met the brief with appropriate solutions as well as some beautiful design executions – it was incredibly gratifying. The winner’s submission stood out from the crowd and their victory was well deserved.

What are your thoughts about the 2021 brief?

I personally love this year’s brief and I’m looking forward to working through the submissions and how they have interpreted the design brief.

There are multiple deliverables – from a 50-seater restaurant to a learning centre – and each deliverable must get the same amount of attention to ensure a successful end product that honours the BoKaap heritage.

As always, I look forward to the brave, stand-out concepts that push boundaries. Submissions that aren’t just about beautifully rendered aesthetics but also focus on how the end user experience is considered.

What have you been up to since last year’s competition?

Since last year’s awards, DHQ has been lucky enough to work on the rollout of Al Baik (a fried chicken franchise from Saudi Arabia) in Dubai. We were also appointed as Pick ‘n Pay designers and are working with teams both locally and in eSwatini to renovate some of their outlets, really pushing the design limits and enhancing the customer experience and offer for the brand. We are also busy with a few car dealerships and shifting end user experiences in this sector. COVID-19 definitely taught us to expand our client base and to look to environments outside of restaurants, which was typically our focus before the pandemic.

To keep up with the latest projects and news from Livia and DHQ, visit the website or connect with them on Instagram and Facebook.