PG Bison’s 1.618 Education Initiative is an annual design competition aimed at third-year students. The Education Initiative is now in its 26th year and has established itself as an integral part of the syllabus at the majority of interior design and architectural tertiary education institutions throughout South Africa.
Students are challenged to design a response to a semi-fictional brief that has been crafted by PG Bison with the assistance of a practicing architect or interior design industry leader. The brief is then written into the participating institutions’ curricula for the following year. The brief is changed every year, challenging students to find new and innovative solutions. Past briefs have included finding design solutions for pressing social challenges and preserving and enhancing historical buildings.
Submissions are received by a stipulated deadline and collectively judged in an anonymous process by industry experts. Maintaining the prestige and prominence of this initiative is reliant on a dedicated, competent panel of independent judges drawn from the architectural and interior design fraternity. Judges are rotated every few years. The judges select 10 finalists from the hundreds of entries received.
The finalists and their work receive exposure at an awards evening attended by architects, designers and academics. Most of the finalists receive job offers based on their submissions, some already on the evening of the awards.
First prize is an all-expenses paid trip to the International Furniture Fair in Milan, Italy, for the winner and his or her lecturer. Second place secures an all-expenses paid trip to the Design Indaba in Cape Town, as well as a cash reward. There are also cash rewards for third place and for each of the finalists.
Throughout the competition PG Bison representatives visit and present to the 27 participating institutions, assisting the students to achieve the best results possible. For PG Bison, the 1.618 Education Initiative offers a platform to explore one of the central aims of the brand, which is to function as a design enabler and provide the means through which designers can realise their ideas. By helping develop new design talent, PG Bison can contribute to the fields of design and architecture and, ultimately, to a better environment.