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Young designer the best

Emma Strydom scooped the grand prize at the fourth annual Shenzen Design Youth Awards (SDYA) and swept the competition with her innovative and educational designs that promote learning and communication among children and their parents/guardians.

The SDYA helps to showcases the creative works of designers from various cities across the world. The theme of the latest competition was “Inclusive Design”.

Originally from Paternoster but living in Cape Town, Strydom was one of 224 competitors.

Her designs were considered a cut above the rest, and she impressed the judges with her personified alphabet characters at the supermarket entitled Sifunda (We learn by talking together), creating learning opportunities by focusing on environments where children and parents/guardians naturally gather – for example, a supermarket.

The awards encourage participants to submit works focusing on environmental sustainability, social and economic development, and quality of life in cities as well as including people in the process and outcome of design.

“The topic of this competition – Inclusive Design – is well set because at present design is facing societal transformation in terms of professional practice and research.

“Design being inclusive indicates a change of concerns and attributes and having inclusive design, as the topic for competition creates much space for possibilities and flexibility,” according to Ziyuan Wang, Professor of School of Design, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), and SDYA 2019 Jury Chairman.

Asked how she felt after winning the award, Strydom said: “It feels unreal! To be up against so many talented people on an international level is intimidating and to win is insane. I’m totally humbled by the honour, and it gives me hope for this project and future.”

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