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Durban design duo triumphs in Nando's Hot Young Designer search

Design duo Nikhil Tricam and Nindya Bucktowar of Kalki Ceramics have been named the winners of the Nando's Hot Young Designer (HYD) Talent Search for 2022.
Cactus Server by Kalki Ceramics. Source: Supplied
Cactus Server by Kalki Ceramics. Source: Supplied

The winners announcement was made on 26 October 2022 at this year’s Basha Uhuru youth festival at Con Hill, Johannesburg.

The HYD competition, now in its fourth year, aims to play a role in local design industry development by unearthing new creative designs for Nando's restaurants around the world and serving as a launchpad for emerging local designers.

The brief

HYD tasked young designers with conceptualising a condiment unit to display the brand’s popular peri peri sauces. The challenge was to do so in such a way that these sauces and their piquant ingredients, which form an intrinsic part of the Nando’s experience, remain visible and accessible to customers throughout their visit.

Together, Tricam and Bucktowar are the owners of Kalki Ceramics, a design studio based in Durban specialising in bespoke handcrafted ceramic tiles. For their winning entry, they looked to South African flora and desert landscapes for inspiration. Their Cactus Server draws on the duo’s combined experience in ceramics, product design and architecture to create a rich and textural functional art piece.

Nindya Bucktowar and Nikhil Tricam, Kalki Ceramics. Source: Supplied
Nindya Bucktowar and Nikhil Tricam, Kalki Ceramics. Source: Supplied

“Utilising Kalki Ceramics tiles in unique glazes reminiscent of fynbos, succulents and flowers endemic to South Africa, the Cactus Server blends contemporary form with organic materials and motifs to create a uniquely South African design,” says Tricam.

The prize

Being named as winners of the Nando’s HYD 2022 will open up new business opportunities for Tricam and Bucktowar including having their piece prototyped and included on the Nando’s Portal to Africa, an online ordering and purchasing platform used by interior design studios locally and globally to source South African designer items to include in Nando’s restaurants around the world.

The winners will also receive ongoing mentorship and development support from the Clout/SA team designed to help fast-track their progress in the industry.

The judging process

The Cactus Server was chosen from over 120 entries into the fourth iteration of the Nando’s HYD competition. The multiphase judging process saw members of the design and creative communities from various countries assess entries over two rounds. The entries were narrowed down to a shortlist of 20, and then edited further to the top 10 finalists, from which the overall winner was chosen.

The prestigious panel of 17 local and global industry judges included director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in New York, Ngaire Blankenberg; Sophie Douglas, director of Fusion Design and Architecture, UK; Paul Thrush, cofounder and director of STAC Architecture, UK; and Karen Brumfield, head of buying at @Home, and others.

“We’d like to thank the judges and all our entrants for their time and energy. The entries that made it to the finals are bold, authentic and unique, all characteristics we love in a piece of great SA design. We’d like to congratulate our overall winners and all of the finalists and look forward to seeing them thrive through inclusive access to opportunities and a global market that Nando’s HYD and Clout/SA will facilitate in collaboration with them.

“This competition is about changing lives by making sure we utilise the platform we have to shine a light on creativity and opportunity!” says Tracy Lynch, a Nando’s HYD judge and co-managing executive alongside Nokuzola Jenness of Clout/SA, the company that facilitates the Nando’s HYD competition and rollout.


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