As students are hard at work on their submissions for this year’s 1.618 Education Initiative, we’re looking at how the competition can help to change lives and open doors by profiling some of the previous winners and finalists. We asked Andrew Mboyi, winner of the 2013 edition of the competition to tell us a bit about his journey since.

Andrew almost didn’t get to submit his winning design. His lecturer felt his submission required more work and was not going to select it to send to PG Bison, but Andrew won the doodle competition (where students build on the start of a doodle on a card supplied by PG Bison during the 1.618 introductory lecture). He thus won an invite to the awards ceremony. His lecturer allowed him to refine and finalise his design and submitted it, and Andrew ended up no only winning the doodle competition, but first prize and a trip to the Milan Furniture Fair. Amazing what a little polishing can do!

Since then, he’s gone on to win first place in the 2014 Cobra national competition (as well as second place in the 2015 edition), and first place in the 2018 Geberit Design Challenge. He’s built a successful career in design and enjoys every aspect of it.

Here’s what he had to say when PG Bison caught up with him:

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Andrew Mboyi, a designer across multiple disciplines. I am an interesting blend between my grassroots farm-raised background and the highly digital tools I use daily. The results manifest in my daily commitment to architectural spaces, interior design, furniture and products. I have been fortunate enough to receive accolades an awards in all four design disciplines.

My approach to all projects is to create the unexpected, with African culture as a core source inspired craftsmanship. With that in mind, I believe one can never be out of innovative ideas. Africa is the epitome and embodiment of innovative approaches to design.

Looking back to when you won the competition in 2013, can you give us a bit of insight into the experience?

I recall my project vividly. We were tasked with firstly creating a brand and then the flagship store it would be hosted in. I chose Afr0-Egyptian bespoke sandals and luxury footwear, made to measure in-store. I focused on the experience of the customer, as well as the experience of craft-making. The design featured a gallery area, samples for customers, a lounge, bar and a host of other activities tailored towards making the customer feel like the star while experiencing every step in the making of the premium product.

The awards event ceremony was almost pure fantasy. A steam-punk theme made for a magical night with like-minded design greats.

How did the competition shape your career journey?

It opened up a vast number of opportunities. I’d go as far as saying it allowed me to pick who to work for, instead of waiting for employers to pick me.

Why do you believe awards like these are important (for students and / or the industry)?

Incredibly so. It shapes the next stars and even the runner-ups make incredible strides following the event, it is a big, big head-start in the industry.

Tell us a bit about what your current job entails and what you most enjoy about it.

I’m a designer and CGI specialist. I enjoy working on design projects using the best tools to deliver the best product, which allows room to innovate.

What would your advice be to current entrants to the PG Bison 1.618 Education Initiative, as they begin to enter the workplace?

You are special, and the fact you made it this far proves it. So, make it count!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“This is just the beginning” – I was told this at the PG Bison event.

Check out Andrew’s digital portfolio here.