Every year, Design Indaba invites the public to nominate “The Most Beautiful Object In South Africa”. Beyond mere aesthetics, beauty is defined, amongst other things, as an object that offers “social significance, economic impact, usability, sustainability and even humour”.

11 semi-finalists were selected, offering a diverse range of beauty from a designer who uses everyday materials such as coloured rope and string, which she transforms into embellishments that are very sophisticated” to a landmark building that exemplifies "urban regeneration and a symbol of progress for all South Africans".

Ultimately, the winner was the “Pebble Dress” designed by Gavin Rajah [pictured above, first image]. Blogger Malibongwe Tyilo of Skattie What Are You Wearing? nominated the dress, stating:

“The Pebble Dress combines to great effect some of the most relevant design influences at the moment: leather, ombre, texture and craft. Their unity creates a completely resolved design piece. At first glance, your eye is attracted by the complete garment and it’s almost scale-like appearance. A closer look reveals the incredible amount of work and precision that has gone into creating not only the garment but also an entirely new fabric.”

The 10 other semi-finalists include [pictured above, clock-wise from the top]:

  • Aretha Dress by Sindiso Khumalo
  • Golden Fold Necklace by Katherine-Mary, Pichulik
  • Zanzan Umbrella by Gareth Cowden, Babatunde
  • Wood and Carbon Bike by David Stubbs
  • The Soweto Theatre by Lawrence Chibwe, Afritects Architects
  • Visibility Vest by Ronel Jordaan
  • Gustav Greffrath’s Interpretation of the 1975 Pipeline Gun shaped by Spider Murphy for Dutchman’s Delft Portfolio
  • Mechanical Bureau by Joe Paine
  • Slice Cutting Board by Jonathan Fundudis, Snapp Design
  • City Press Newspaper, 27 May 2012 Edition, by Editor Ferial Haffajee [not pictured above]

Read more about the semi-finalists and why they were nominated and the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa winner, Gavin Rajah, via Design Indaba.

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    See their expansive definition of “beauty” below.
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