Samsung announced the winner of the Bespoke Home Challenge, closing the curtain on the interior design competition that ran from October 2022. Zwelibanzi Nzuza’sdesign took the honours after seeing off stiff competition from his three fellow finalists. Zweli, as he’s affectionately known, won a cash prize of R100 000 that will help him kick-start his interior design career and propel him into his future of creativity.

Coming all the way from Kwa-Zulu, Zwelibanzi’s design philosophy is based on vision, inspiration and a leap of faith. He is very adventurous in his designs and often looks at results that inspire people beyond the norm. What sets him apart is his willingness to explore, expand himself in every project and always produce something fresh. “I perceived a high-spiritedness in the Bespoke fridge, which is the centrepiece of the design. That inspired sophistication and playfulness in my approach and I tried to use that as an anchor and a common thread in everything else in my space. I wanted something warm, welcoming, relatable, easy on the eye, and not overbearing or intimidating,” said Zwelibanzi.

For the first time, Samsung opened the Bespoke Home Challenge to young designers. The challenge was made to encourage the creators to design an integrated kitchen and living room space with the Bespoke Refrigerator as the centrepiece of their space. Being in a class of its own, the Samsung Bespoke Refrigerator range brings a kaleidoscope of colour, innovation, and unparalleled customisation to life.

The four finalists had to each put their best foot forward and do their designs at the new Samsung Lifestyle store at Design Quarter in Johannesburg. The other finalists were:

  • Maresa Maartens (Gauteng) – Won second place in the Bespoke Home Challenge and walked away with R50 000 cash prize. Maresa was adamant that when designing, it is important to create rooms that feel like sanctuaries, where people can find ease of use, comfort, durability and minimal maintenance, she believes in design solutions and spaces that make users feel good mentally and physically and want to slow down.
  • Keneilwe Mothoa (Gauteng) – Inspired by African heritage and culture and marrying this with modern and western inspirations. Her designs are based on African research and focus on the history for the future. She designs for both functionality and aesthetics, capturing all the senses: touch and feel to name a few.
  • Mbali Maseko (Gauteng) – Mbali believes that going forward design should be minimalistic with a touch of Africa. She would like to add a touch of Africa to any beautiful, personal and Bespoke home.

The challenge focused on up-and-coming young designers and was a way to give them a unique platform to test their skills and an opportunity to design and give their own interpretation of a perfect Bespoke Home. After being identified for the final round at the end of September 2022, the four finalists had a chance to showcase their creativity and skill at the brand-new Samsung Lifestyle at Design Quarter.

Media entrepreneur and International Speaker, Jo-Ann Strauss, who formed part of the judging panel, said the bar had been raised in this edition of the competition. “Samsung is renowned for always going big in everything they do and it is exciting to see that the My Bespoke Home Challenge competition was no exception. It’s amazing how this competition has grown improved. It is such an excellent platform for young up-and-coming designers and I’m proud to be part of it for the second time. A competition like this is important to celebrate what the young designers learn as it prepares them for the real world and the work environment. The designs of all four finalists were beautiful and made it tough for the judges. I was particularly impressed by how the contestants brought their own personalities to the fore through their designs. I also enjoyed hearing the personal stories from the contestants about their individual journeys and we all thoroughly enjoyed Zweli’s personal story.”

Zweli said he is over the moon at being crowned the winner and takes it as a reminder that he is on the right track in terms of following his passion and love for interior design. “This is like a dream. Never in a million years would I have imagined I would win such a competition. I have learned a lot more than I thought I would in this competition. I feel grateful and absolutely humbled by the entire experience.  The fact that my family is also here to celebrate with me makes it extra special. I will be investing the prize money towards realising my dream and growing my business,” said Zweli.

“The My Bespoke Home Challenge competition is Samsung’s effort to invest in young designers and youth as part of our design and concept store. These post-COVID times have highlighted the importance of our personal spaces and the role they play in our overall wellbeing. It is what inspired this challenge as well because our homes have become multifunctional as spaces where we need to work, relax and entertain ourselves, so they need to be optimal for all those purposes and more. Our vision at Samsung is to allow our consumers to be able to make their spaces look and feel the way they want that also reflects their own personalities and tastes,” said Mike van Lier, Vice President for Consumer Electronics at Samsung.

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