Blog | BHC School of Design | Cape Town - Part 2

BHC Alumni catch-up: Sameenah Ahmed

Not everyone is born with the guts or the raw ability to create and build their own business. Of those brave entrepreneurs – the ones leaping passionately into their dreams – only the downright determined succeed!

Sameenah Ahmed is one of these gritty individuals. Her passion for Interior Design (and a love for the property and building development industry, instilled by her family), has resulted in the successful Interior Design Company, SAS Interior Design, which she runs with her talented hubby and business partner, Sarfaraz Sablay.

The best part? Sameenah is a BHC Alumnus, and we couldn’t be more proud! There is nothing we love more than a student who’s gone through our ranks and come out on top. We were very privileged to have Sameenah come to our Open Day on the 29th September to talk to prospective students about her experience at BHC and the life she’s built on her career to date.  It was impressive, to say the least, and was so inspiring that we even had a few mums and dads wanting to switch careers.

Sameenah matriculated in 2007 and went on to begin her Interior Design career studying with BHC, graduating with top marks in 2010. We asked her why BHC was her institution of choice, (because let’s be fair, we all do our research before enrolling with the perfect fit), and this was her answer:

“I loved the environment, the facility and the works which were produced from past students. They’re well known in the industry for equipping their students with a broader understanding of design and the functioning of the way things work.”

And not to toot our own horn or anything (wink), we asked Sameenah what she felt she received at BHC that she wouldn’t have elsewhere:

“Practical, evidence-based design. Well-trained, practicing and equipped lecturers, who are passionate about interior design. Individuals who push your boundaries and open your mind to think more creatively. BHC has a consistently high standard of teaching methods and a reliable studio equipped with everything you need.”

After a stint working in the Interior Design industry for a well-known and respected company, Freeworld Design Centre, Sameenah began taking on smaller Interior Decorating jobs while starting her family. A few years later, SAS Interior Design was born out of a shared passion for the Design and Construction Industries. Together with their individual expertise, they have been able to offer ‘complete turn-key solutions’ and their company is thriving.

Sameenah & Family
SAS work


Thank you Sameenah, we are immensely proud of you and look forward to seeing your designs painted beautifully, not just all over Cape Town but the world!

P.S. We’d love to meet you on Instagram: follow us at @bhcdesignschool for epic visuals and BHC updates.


How did we get to more than halfway through August already? It feels like just yesterday that we welcomed our first year design & décor student and now we are already planning our end of year events.

Here is a little update of what our students have been up to since the June holiday…

Our third years completed a 4 week internship at an Architectural/ Design Practice before the holiday commenced. They returned to college this term more focused and determined than ever. We are not sure if it was the long office hours or the excitement of seeing their designs progress from concept to installation that has resulted in this new found dedication. They are currently working on a Retail brief. Working in pairs, they had to prepare & present a Corporate Identity Document and Interior Design proposal for either a Butchery (named ‘The Carvery’) or alternatively a Fresh Produce Store (named ‘Sprout’).


The Carvery Interior Perspective


The 2nd years have been practicing their CAD skills lately. They recently completed plans, elevations and a section for a new residence in Houtbay. The brief has been divided into various stages (we love a good intermediate hand-in here at BHC ) and they are currently working on the 3D proposals for the project. Below are some of their CAD drawings which were required as the first phase of this project.


Very professional CAD drawings


First Year is all about Corporate Design at present. In groups, the students had to research and graphically present various requirements of corporate environments e.g. healthy workstations; technology in an office environment, materials in office environments etc. The result was beautiful presented posters made up of various infographics to communicate their findings.  The class have recently received their first official lesson in grid assisted 2 point perspectives and we are excited to see how they will translate their findings and designs into interior spaces.


Infographic Presentations

Our Décor class is finishing off their latest brief before they embark on a 3 week internship starting the 27th of August. Their current brief is to propose a new layout and facelift for Freddie Freeloader, a local hang out spot of our students. The students really enjoy the “live” briefs where they are able to engage with a client and visit the site – a very good preview for what is to come after graduation.


Client meeting at Freddie Freeloader

Third Year Prototypes

This year for prototype design the 3rd years were challenged with designing a trendy yet functional free standing light. The design styling, material selection & light source type was up to the student with only two limiting parameters – the unit was not to exceed 600 (L) x 600 (W) x 1600 (H)mm & no colour finishes were to be used. Designing a luminaire can be tricky task, this can be looked at as either controlling the light source, as per its function – task, ambient or feature, or creating an aesthetic piece that functions as a light source. Rarely do these two factors come together to create a piece such as these timeless icons – the Mirror Ball Stand Chandelier by Tom Dixon or the Arco lamp by Achille Castiglioni. This was their challenge and we can’t wait to see the end result at graduation.

A few prototype proposals

Boeresport Day

Here at BHC, we take Academics very seriously, but as we all know, life is about balance. So once a term we schedule a social event. The purpose of this is to not only get our students to put down their pencils and shut down their computers, but also get out, breathe in some fresh air and just get to know their peers a little better.

The first official social event for the year is our Boeresport Day – a long standing tradition that is always a lot of fun and this year was no exception.

Students had to team up in groups of 6 and dress-up according to a unique theme of their choosing. This year “80s gym” seemed to be quite a popular theme as one of our 3rd year teams pitched up as “Body Beat” and our Décor students came dressed up as the “Jane Fonda’s”. Some of the other original themes included Error 404 and the Unicorns.


Jane Fondas
The Jane Fonda’s


The Ninja's
The Ninja’s


The day started with a very competitive game of “tug of war” to get the adrenaline going. Next was the 2-man-wheelbarrow race, sack race and lastly, the plank race. Team spirits were high and those who did not participate, made up for it with loud cheers from the side-line.


Tug of war
Tug of war


Wheelbarrow Race
Wheelbarrow Race


Sack Race
Sack Race


Plank Race
Plank Race


Our second years did another amazing job at arranging food and drinks to sell at the event. The profits of these sales will contribute to the end of year dance.


At the end of the day, there could be only one overall winner, and this year that team was the “Body Beats”. Each year we also acknowledge the best team for their unique theme and effort with dressing up and this year that award went to the “Unicorns”.


The winning team - The Body Beats
The winning team – The Body Beats


Best Dressed - Unicorns
The best dressed team  – The Unicorns


Well done to all the teams that participated and thank you to everyone that attended…we look forward to the socials to come!

Pleased to meet you

Hello 2018 and welcome to all of our new first year Design and Décor students. The December holidays have been long forgotten as our students are working hard on their new briefs.

In true BHC tradition, we did pause to introduce the fresh new faces (the first year and décor students) to the rest of the college at what we like to refer to as the “orientation party”.

To break the ice and ensure that our new students are comfortable before the big introduction, our first year and décor studio masters present them with a challenge: In groups of no more than 6 learners, teams had to collect recycling materials from various local suppliers in order to make up fashionable head gear for each of the members in the group, using nothing but the items collected. Not only did this give the students an opportunity to get to know each other better; but also get  to know the lovely coffee shops and restaurants our students love to support.

Afterwards, teams had to strike a few predetermined poses for our photo archives (or future black mail material ;)). These poses included criminal’s line-up; ballet lesson; the final moments of a bodybuilding competition and operation to name but a few. The results were hilarious!


1st Years Pose
Our first years showed off some serious modelling skills


Finally, it was time for the big introduction: Each first year and décor student had an opportunity to introduce themselves and show off their special party trick to the rest of the college. We all had a good laugh and could see that they would fit right in with the BHC family.


2nd Years
Everyone had to sport some interesting headgear for the occasion


3rd Years
Our third years was there to support the new students


Our second years did an amazing job at arranging pizzas and drinks in an effort to save up some money towards our end of year dance.


1st Years
First Years enjoying the introductions


If the start of the year is any indication of the excitement that lies ahead, then we are definitely all looking forward to the rest of the year!


1st Years Party
A few of our new students

Goodbye 2017!

Just like that, 2017 has come to an end. It has been an amazing year and these are only a few of the many highlights we will always remember…

Our 2nd Year Students were approached by Entrawood, to choose one of 3 businesses, for whom an office space needed to be conceptualised, designed and laid out using Entrawood’s Evolution, Elevate, Salon and Cocoon ranges. The students took on the challenge in the 3rd term and were provided with the shell of a double storey office & 3 options of potential tenants. Entrawood office furniture & products formed the ideal base for workstations, casual & waiting areas, boardrooms, open plan offices & receptions.Students were also required to create their own unique staircase to transverse the two levels.We are delighted to announce that Entrawood selected Micaela Garbers & Shaun Taljaard as joint runners up and Danelle van Wyk & Dean Le Roux as winners of the competition. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership as we prepare for next year’s competition.

Stephen Lew with the winners, Danelle & Dean


Earlier this year BHC was approached by an American Coffee brand to assist with the design and visualisation of a new concept store. We were provided with a comprehensive corporate identity document which formed the guideline as to the look and feel of the shop. The 3rd years worked in pairs to develop various concepts using the corporate identity, in creating a small coffee shop and coffee truck.

One of the proposals that were submitted to the client
One of the proposals that were submitted to the client


The Caesarstone competition has become a highight in the 3rd year syllabus and this year proved no different. BHC was excited to hear that, once again we had one of our 3rd Year Design Students in the TOP 9 finalists for the 2017 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition. Hsu Yi Hua (or as many of you know him, Ian) attended the prestigious awards evening, with the support of many students and staff, held at the Young Blood Gallery in Cape Town, where he placed as 1st runner up. It was a tough competition this year and we are proud of Ian and his achievement and we look forward to next year’s brief.

Ian's proposal
Ian’s presentation


As per BHC tradition, our 2nd year students hosted a college dance for the institution as a way of saying farewell to the 3rd year & decor students. This year, the dance was held at the Table Bay Yacht Club. The theme was “A night under a thousand stars” and the students dressed the part – resembling the red carpet of the Oscars with many arriving in bow ties and beautiful evening dresses. Thank you to the second years for doing an amazing job – it was a great evening!

Our decor ladies looking beautiful at the dance


On the 7th of December we celebrated our 3rd Year & Decor graduates. The Graduation ceremony was held at the college the morning followed by our Industry Evening later that day. We wish them the best of luck for all their future endeavours!

Our 2017 Interior Design Graduates
Our 2017 Interior Design Graduates


Our 2017 Interior Decorating Graduates
Our 2017 Interior Decorating Graduates

August Highlights

Here at BHC, August seemed to have flashed past!

It has been an interesting month filled with some exciting events and projects.

Our first years recently completed their first corporate project. The brief was to survey and draw up the existing 3rd floor (currently our 2nd and 3rd Year studio) and convert it to offices for an Architectural, Interior Design & Décor practice. This was also our first years’ first attempt at a 2 point perspective. Since our first years have not been introduced to CAD or 3D Software (which will still happen in due time) their projects all had to be hand drawn and rendered.


1st Years 02

1st Years 01

Some of our 1st Year's corporate hand-ins
Some of our 1st Year’s Corporate hand-ins


Our second year students were recently challenged to design an “awareness pod” and we were blown away with the results. Each student had to select a cause they were passionate about and design a small pod (which engaged with one person at a time) that made the visitor aware of this cause through various uses of technology. The challenge for this project went beyond just the brief; the students were also challenged to use Sketch Up (one of the 3D software packages that are introduced in 2nd Year). We were really impressed with how they embraced this challenge and we feel the results speak for themselves.


2nd Years 01

Two of our 2nd Year's Awareness Pods
Two of our 2nd Year’s Awareness Pods


Our décor students have been so busy this year (not just this month). Almost all of their projects to date have been live projects which means real clients with real briefs and real budgets. Their latest brief was to prepare and present a new layout for the rooftop terrace to the Bromwell. The students recently presented their proposals to the client and according to their studio masters, the presentations went really well. Our décor students’ 1 month internship commenced this week and we are sure all of these live projects prepared them well for this adventure.


Decor presentations to the client
Decor presentations to the client


After all of the demanding hand-ins this month, our students were definitely in need of a social break away from college. The entire college went to Grand West to ice skate last week. It was cold, it was a little painful (for the few that found the ice just a tad too slippery ;)) but it sure was a lot of fun! It was an excellent bonding experience and we were so impressed by the amazing turn-out (the mandatory hand-ins at Grand West might or might not have had something to do with it…sneaky lecturers)


Students showing off their ice skating skills
Students showing off their ice skating skills
Always ready for a photo ;)
Always ready for a photo 😉
The amazing turn-out
The amazing turn-out

Hello third term!

We can’t believe it is July already (actually, almost August!). It feels like only yesterday that we welcomed our new first years and now in just a few short months, we shall say farewell to our third year and décor graduates.

Let’s just take a moment to reflect on a few of highlights of the past two terms…

Our VR area is officially up and running and the students are definitely enjoying this new addition to the college. Most afternoons are spent exploring new models in virtual reality in the 3rd year studio.


VR in action!
VR in action!


We have launched new BHC hoodies which have been received very well by our students. Not only are they beautiful (or we seem to think so) but they are warm and comfortable – definitely a must-have during the cold wet Cape Town winter.


We think these hoodies are pretty cool!
We think these hoodies are pretty cool!


One of the benefits of having studio masters and lecturers who are active in industry, is that the students on occasion get involved in LIVE briefs – from conception to implementation! One of these projects was the renovation of the Pienaar Brother’s retail warehouse in Paarden Eiland. Our second years were asked to come up with new proposals for the front of house store layout. We are still eagerly awaiting on the client to select his favourite proposal.


One of the Second year's proposals
One of the Second year’s proposals


Our third years have returned from their 4 week internships. The response from the class was that the entire experience was amazing and they all learned from this opportunity. The class seems to be ready for the last stretch before they graduate at the end of this year…


First week back and already hard at work!
First week back and already hard at work!


These are just a few of the many highlights! We are looking forward to the last two terms which are sure to be filled with some more highlights!


Good Luck!

It is June, which not only means we are halfway through the year, but also that the June exams are upon us! If you have been following BHC on the social media platforms, you’ll know about all of the exciting adventures of the past few months. The highlights include our Boeresport day, the implementation of Virtual Reality into our design syllabus, a successful Set Square competition and very fashionable new hoodies! It has been an amazing first semester and we are excited for the rest of the year…Before we get ahead of ourselves though, we need to get through these exams…So here is a “good luck shout- out” to all of 1st and 2nd Year Design students for the upcoming exams!


Lecture Room


The 3rd years might not have exams anymore (hooray) but they have their own adventure to look forward to…As part of our third year design syllabus, our students need to complete a 4 week internship within an Interior Design or Architectural practice. This experience provides them with a realistic view of the industry and the working environment, and provides them with the opportunity to bridge the gap between the academic environment and the world of work. We would like to wish all of our third years the best of luck for their upcoming internship, starting on the 12th of June. We hope all of you have an amazing time and keep up the legacy our past graduates have established in the industry!



If you have been following our social media posts lately you might have had a sneak peek at our latest new addition to our design course…VIRTUAL REALITY!


The Equipment
Virtual Reality headset & remote


Virtual Reality you might ask? Is that not for animation students or astronaut training? Well yes…but it is also so much more…

One of the biggest challenges as designers has been the ability to sell a vision to a client. Considering all of the effort that goes into the design of a new space (whether it is a home/ office/ shop / hotel etc.) it is rather heart breaking when the client is unable to visualise the amazing ideas you as designer have envisioned. You produce plans; amazing sections; fantastic renders but is that always enough? That is where virtual reality comes in…by putting on a ‘very special’ headset, your client can literally step into the space! It honestly feels so real, you actually want to touch the carpet; feel the wall; sit on the sofa…


Everyone can participate
Everyone is able to share in the experience since the participant’s view is shown on the adjacent screen


This all sounds too amazing to be true right? It is…and it’s so much more! We believe that this is the way moving forward for design presentations, which is why we are very proud to announce that we are the very first interior educational institution in South Africa to have included Virtual Reality (often referred to as VR) into our syllabus.

Our college has procured two pairs of headsets which means lecturer and student will both be able to enter a model simultaneously! This will take design crits to a whole new level and our students will receive that instant satisfaction from experiencing their designs in 3D…because we all know, it is not just about a pretty picture…it is about the experience…and that is what virtual reality will give us!


The Virtual Reality Experience
The Virtual Reality Experience