Design Student Intends to Fill Gap in Children’s Furniture
Third-year Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Industrial Design student, Ms Merliska Meerman says that she intends using her Rhino design concept as a solution to filling the gap currently existing in the South African manufacturing sector for children’s furniture.
Twenty-one year-old Meerman is part of the seven university students that will be vying for the coveted title of producing the best furniture design concept, that will be concluded at the 5th Annual Furniture Design Competition at the Johannesburg HOMEMAKERS Expo, which will be taking place at the Ticketpro Dome from 22-25 February 2018.
The Furniture Design Competition is a creation of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti). It aims to identify new talent in the sector and elevate South Africa’s furniture manufacturing capabilities both locally and abroad.
Meerman describes the Rhino as a joint table and storage unit specifically targeted for children of between one to five years of age.
“The idea behind it is that it should stand against the wall so that it gives off a visual of a rhino emerging from out of the wall, like there is an animal in a child’s room. It functions as a book shelf or a storage unit for stationery, papers, books and toys. The top part also doubles as a chalk board for children to write on,” she says.
Meerman adds that she has tested the Rhino on several children and that results have been encouraging.
“I have observed that they liked its multi-functionality uses and the best-selling point about it is that it is user-friendly. It can be assembled and taken apart by anyone for purposes of moving. It has an educational element to it where it teaches children about nature conservation,” adds Meerman.
Meerman adds that she is looking at patenting the Rhino and manufacturing it for both the local and export market.
“I would like to establish my own company after completing my studies where I will manufacture children’s toys and furniture. I would also like to help grow the economy and create much needed jobs,” she says.
The 5th annual Furniture Design Competition winners will be crowned at the Johannesburg HOMEMAKERS Expo on Friday, 23 February 2018.