Matthew Edwards, a 2016 graduate from the University of Johannesburg, competed against students around the globe with his footwear design for the Milano Montagna Vibram Factory 2017 contest in Italy.
A creative graduate from the Department of Industrial Design within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is the winner in the Footwear category of the Milano Montagna Vibram Factory 2017 contest, a challenge dedicated to technology and equipment for sports training, which was held on Monday 23 October 2017, at Milan's Santeria Social Club, in Italy.
Tera-03 was developed by South African industrial designer, and UJ Alumnus, Matthew Edwards as a low-cost, multipurpose gym shoe suited to any kind of sports activity, from rugby to running, and from cycling to rock climbing. Also made available to children coming from South Africa's poorest communities, it has a hybrid design that incorporates different characteristics and a choice of engineered materials.
"It is a huge honor to represent South Africa at an international design awards level. Winning an award like this gives me the confidence to take my designs and ideas further afield. Being a recent Honours graduate of Industrial Design in 2016 and using my final thesis project as a basis and adapting it for the competition, proves that the level of work coming out of Industrial Design at UJ is of a high pedigree," said Edwards.
"South Africa is a complex country in which there is a disproportionate spread of wealth caused by colonialism and apartheid. Tera-03 design incorporates many features to make it suitable for all these sports: a textured sole, padded elements for cushioning and protection on the upper leather part and a high ankle for stability and injury prevention, to give more support on various terrains. The sole studs are "hybrid" in the sense that they offer grip for sports such as football and mountaineering but still offer a flatter surface for running or bikeriding. This complexity offers grip without losing comfort. The material is a polyurethane plastic, very durable and a cheaper alternative to more contemporary resins and polymers", explained Edward.
Another footwear model won in the category of Vibram Special Award: Replicant. Developed by Giacomo Piazzi and made with the support of La Sportiva, it has a mountain running shoe concept that allows for its personalization, both in terms of aesthetics and key functions. It combines the functional approach of a technologically advanced sole with the principle of personalizing the upper, where it is possible to add or remove different components and inserts, in accordance with the discipline and design requirements.
The other winners of the Milano Montagna Vibram Factory Contest were "Giano", a system conceived by Francesco Gatti, which allows a bicycle to compensate for the difference in height between the seat and handlebars; and "Isbjorn" by the French designer Corentin Bricout: a snowboarder outfit with the back of the jacket lengthened for greater protection and insulation, and pockets with sensors that make it a must-have for today's youth.
"Congratulations to Matthew for this notable acknowledgement, the fact that there were 56 project submissions from around the world, Matthew's project was the only submission from Africa, and he was awarded the first prize. This makes us proud as a University, and confident of the excellence of our Industrial Design programme" says Mr Angus Donald Campbell: Head of the Department of Industrial Design.
These projects were awarded by the jury including Alberto Meda President, Riccardo Blumer, Martino Colonna, Silvia Nani, Marc Sadler; Robert Fliri, Marco Guazzoni and Massimo Randone.
As and industrial design based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Matthew Edwards feels that he has a responsibility to design for solving problems within the society in which he lives. He is also a sportsman and believes that sports can help improve people's lives and educate kids. His aspiration is to become a footwear designer with a focus on football boots.