UJ Industrial Design Graduate Winner of the Rado Star Prize

“I never in my wildest dreams expected the recognition I have received for a project that was completed at only University level,” said an elated Monica Monsanto, a graduate from the Department of Industrial Design, within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Monsanto’s Mbari Dolls project scooped the prestigious prize awarded by the innovative Swiss watch brand.

The Rado Star South Africa competition gave young designers the opportunity to gain exposure and compete with other local designers. “The department makes every effort to select and enter appropriate national and international design competitions that speak to academics. This enhances our reputation as the leading institution for Industrial Design education in South Africa,” said Chris Bradnum, the school’s Head of Department.

After hearing about the competition on the faculty’s Facebook page, Monica tried her luck and entered a ‘socially and environmentally responsible’ BTech Industrial Design project. The project, completed during her fourth year at UJ, took the first Rado Star Prize South Africa. It is designed for children from low-income households which enables them to make their own toys using a two part mould distributed in mielie-meal bags and constructed from paper mache. Rado CEO and member of the Rado Star Prize South Africa 2014 jury, Matthias Breschen said that Monsanto’s design inspired them because of its innovation and ability to benefit the lives of others.

Now a UJ Alumna, Monsanto believes that UJ excels at producing creative graduates. “This has been a wonderful and surreal moment in my design career. The opportunities have been endless. I will cherish this forever.” Going forward the inventive designer is looking at developing the project for market. Part of the prize consisted of R 100 000 prize money to assist her to develop her design further.

In 2014 the Industrial Design students won the Homemakers Expo Repurposed Competition, the Cobra Taps Competition and the India Africa Competition. The students were also placed highly in the Plastic Institute of Southern Africa (PISA) Student Design Competition, the (Association of Rotational Moulders of Southern Africa) ARMSA Competition and were entered into the Samsung Inspire Competition and the VW Competition.

Monica Monsanto.​​

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