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

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


With our second academic week practically completed, the relaxing December holiday already feels like a distant memory.

Following in their predecessor’s footsteps, our first year design and decorating students were given the brief to decorate toy boxes which will be donated to the Red Cross Children’s hospital later this term. The students came up with some exciting themes such as Super Heroes, animals, into the wild, nature and fantasy. If these boxes are any indication of their talents, then we can’t wait to see what they’ll produce with real interior design/decorating briefs (just watch this space).


Student boxes
Student boxes


The first year design & décor students each had to practice their presentation skills by presenting their individual boxes to the rest of the class.


Student Presentations
Student Presentations


Just to make sure they have verbal presentations “down to a t’’ – the new students also had to introduce themselves to the rest of the college during our annual ‘first year orientation’ party. This is event is hosted by the second years to raise funds towards the college dance later this year. A friendly game of Pictionary was selected to not only show off their sketching skills but also provide an opportunity for all of the students to get to know each other a little better.


Pictionary in action
Pictionary in action


Students enjoying event
Students enjoying event


The academic year definitely started well, and we are excited about the adventures ahead…

November Newsletter

It has been a busy 2nd semester. Here is a round up of what has happened in the last few months.



This year, BHC was pleased to hear that once again we had two of our 3rd Year Design Students making the TOP 9 finalists for the 2016 Caesarstone Student Designer Competition.

In October, Anke van Dyk and Marnich Moller, our 2 finalists, flew up to Sandton with their 3rd Year lecturer, Donna, to attend the prestigious awards evening, where they were presented with their awards.

It was a tough competition this year and we are so proud of Anke and Marnich for making it into the finals. We expect great things to come from them in future.


Caesarstone 2016
Anke (top) & Marnich’s (bottom) entries



The 3rd term is usually quite a long one for the students and towards the end of it, after all the hard work, it only felt right to give the students some time to let off steam. And that is exactly what they did when we visited RUSH.

Apart from being let loose to jump away all their pent up energy on the trampolines, the students also got a chance to challenge the staff to some dodge ball and gladiator-style “fighting”.

What a great day out – we can’t wait to go back again next year!


Students at RUSH



Each year, it falls to the 2nd year students to host a dance for the 3rd years as a way of saying farewell. They spend the year fund raising and organising in preparation for the event and once again, it was a great success.

This year, the dance was held at The Honey Badger in Loop Street. With all the candy floss, hoola-hoops and lots and lots of polaroids, the mood was set for the Vintage Carnival Theme and all the students looked fantastic.

Thank you to the second years for doing such an amazing job – it was a great evening!


2016 Dance
A Vintage Carnival



BHC is fortunate to have a relationship with Woodbender, where for the past few years, Woodbender has been kind enough to donate barstools for our décor students to style, modify and create into something new.

This year, each student could choose a past design period or style to use as their inspiration. Through colour, texture and pattern, they had to come up with a new creation that fitted their chosen style. At the end of the project, they had to create a display in which to photograph their creation.

Thank you Woodbender – the students love this project and it wouldn’t be possible without you.


Woodbender 2016
Samantha (left), Roya (middle) and Rudelie’s (right) creations



We saw a trend of “back to basics” this year in all our studios. There was many a day when the students could be seen building models, sketching furniture throughout the college or sketching their surroundings while out and about.

Sketching is such an important skill for any designer to have that the staff make it their constant mission to encourage it as much as possible. As for model building – who doesn’t love a bit of prototyping!


Students out and about sketching


Model Building


And so the 2016 academic year draws to a close. We look forward to welcoming the students back in 2017.

3rd Year Prototyping

One of the outcomes in our 3rd year Practical Interior Design module is that the students design, detail and build a furniture prototype. Last year, the students were given a brief that restricted their use of chosen materials and the results were amazing, so we decided to do the same this year. This year, the students were required to design a side table, magazine rack or coffee table. Their design had to incorporate concrete as a product choice, but could use any other material of their choosing, as long as it was white.


The process started with some inspirational image selection, which moved into sketching and finally mini scaled white model prototypes. Once these concepts were approved, they could get into the final design presentation stage.


Scaled white models


As part of the process, we set aside some time for the students to cast concrete objects in studio, so that they could become familiar with the process and try out different mix options. It was very much ‘trial and error’ but some of the items turned out beautifully.


Studio Work
Concrete prototyping in studio


Although the students are allowed to have external help in the final building of their prototype, a lot of the students choose to build their furniture items themselves. Although furniture design is an awesome creative exercise, this process is also a great opportunity for the students to get some hands-on experience on creating workable designs as well as managing budgets.


Seton Escudero’s concept design


The final 1:1 prototypes will be handed in at the end of September and will be on exhibition in November.

2nd Years Design Greyton Cottage Renovation

To continue the roll that our students are on with their involvement in designing for real clients, the 2nd year students have recently handed in a project for the proposed renovation of a cottage in Greyton.


The Old Barn
The Old Barn


BHC alumni, Ricardo Dias and his partner, Lee Greene, approached Stephen, the 2nd year studio master, to have the 2nd years do a design proposal for a renovation of their cottage in the historic town. The challenge was 2 part: to create a self-contained unit in the old barn as well as a bedroom en-suite addition to the main house. Their brief was to bring in a bit of “contemporary” into a “Grand Old Lady” design, whilst keeping true to the heritage of the existing architecture.


Surveying the site


Surveying the site
Surveying the site


The students took a field trip out to Greyton to visit the site, where they split into teams to survey the barn and the main house. Whilst on site, they were able to get insights from Ricardo and Lee on their likes and dislikes.


Getting briefed by the client
Getting briefed by the client


In true BHC tradition, they turned the trip into an overnight social, staying in the local Eco Lodge.


Socialising at Eco Lodge
Socialising at Eco Lodge


It was then back to college to get started on the projects. The students worked individually and were given the opportunity to choose the space they were going to work on. They were required to come up with mood direction and finishes boards that would direct their design; space planning layouts, elevations and lastly interior 3D visuals of their chosen space. The students were required to work on Revit for the first time to create the 3D visuals, which was a great learning curve.


Next term, the students will be presenting their projects to Ricardo and Lee – we are excited to hear their feedback on what they have put together.


Who Wants to be a Set Square?


This week marks the last week of term before our 3rd year students go off into the big wide world for their internships and the 1st and 2nd years start with midyear exams. In preparation for this gruelling week of late nights to get everything handed in on time, BHC hosted their annual “Who Wants to be Set Square?” quiz show on Friday.


The Trophy
Who Wants to be a Set Square? Trophy


As with Boeresport, “Who Wants to be Set Square?” is a social event hosted by the college for the students to interact and collaborate with their peers. The premise of this event is that the students get into teams with students from the different years and compete in a décor and design related quiz.


Each year the students get a theme, for which they dress up accordingly. This year’s theme was Proudly South African Brands so teams dressed accordingly to brands such as Black Cat Peanut Butter and Sasko. Even the staff got involved as brand Chappies.


Dressing Up
Themed Teams


The quiz itself was, as expected, a hot mess of chaotic fun, with a lot of jumping up and down, yelling out and guessing.


The Quizz
Quiz Action


The winners of this year’s quiz went to Team All Gold, for which they win “street cred” within the college, as well as the coveted “Late Hand-in Vouchers”. They also won “best Dressed”, also winning “Late Hand-in Vouchers”, which they graciously gave to the runners up, Team Black Cat. Because that’s the kind of spirit we pride ourselves on at BHC.


Team All Gold
Team All Gold – Winners of the Day


But everyone was a winner, really – hopefully picking up a design fact or two!

2016 Winter Workshop

BHC School of Design is once again hosting their Winter Workshop. This workshop is aimed at current grade 11 and 12 learners who have an interest in the field of interior design and interior decorating, but are not too sure about what it entails.


The workshop will combine activities as well as talks delivered but our academic staff and the following topics will be covered during the day:

  • Function of Design
  • Mood boards
  • Space planning & Ergonomics
  • Digital Design


The workshop is being held at BHC’s campus, so the participants will have an opportunity to walk around the school, meet the academic staff as well as see the work that the current students are working on.


Winter Workshop


Some further information:


Date:                Wednesday 29th June 2016

Time:                09:30am to 15:00pm

Where:             72 Salt River Road, Woodstock

Cost:                R450 – refreshments and lunch will be included


If you are interested in attending the event, please click here to RSVP by Friday 17th June. We look forward to see all you future designers and decorators soon!

Milan Design Week

It’s been 2 weeks since Aimée de Villiers, our 3rd year graduate from last year who won the 2015 Caesarstone Student Design Competition, and her lecturer, Donna Wills, returned from their trip to Italy to visit the Salon de Mobile in Milan. Now that they are back and settled, we though it time to get a report back on what happened in Italy.

Donna Says:

Wow. Where to begin? We had the most incredible experience; saw and did so many awesome things. Let’s start with numbers. 31 hours on a plane. 3 hours on a train. 2 nights in Rome. 4 nights in Milan. 3 days spent at Salone del Mobile. 6 days in Italy. 171764 steps taken, which is equal to 105km (thanks Polar Loop).

We landed in Rome on a Sunday morning and after making our way to the hotel, figuring out the bus system (which turned out to be not so successful) and lots of walking around, we made it to the MAXXI – Italy’s national museum of 21st Century Art and Architecture, designed by Zahah Hadid. We were both really glad we were able to visit the museum, – the architecture is striking and like so many other contemporary buildings we saw in Italy, it is beautifully juxtaposed to the historic buildings which surround it.

MAXXI by Zaha Hadid


After getting lost again that evening on an impromptu Roman walk-a-bout, we were rewarded with a night time view of the Colosseum; and so began our “sight-seeing tour of Rome”. There is just so much history and so many things to see in Rome! On Monday, we tried our best to take in as much as we could on a bus tour before making our way to the Vatican for a tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. If there is one thing you have to see in Rome (and there are many), it is St Peter’s Basilica. I was lucky enough to be visiting it for the second, time but it still took my breath away.

Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon


The Vatican; Inside St. Peter’s Basilica


On Tuesday we made our way by train to Milan. And once again, on arriving in Milan, we were hit with the most amazing history and architecture. We arrived in the afternoon, so decided to get some sight-seeing in that afternoon before hitting the Salon del Mobile the next day. The first stop – Milan’s Duomo. It’s the largest Gothic Cathedral in Europe and looking at the detail on the marble work, you can see why it took many centuries to build. We climbed the 250 steps to the roof of the Duomo and from there we could see the Milan city scape in all directions. We also walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle, a high-end shopping arcade and past the famous La Scala Opera House.

The Duomo
The Duomo


Our Wednesday morning began with a “packed-like-sardines” metro ride to the Fiera Milano, home of the Salon del Mobile. We didn’t really have a plan when we arrived, other than to see as much as we could.  With 24 halls to get through, as well as all the incredible exhibitions, installations, events and spaces to see throughout the city, it proved to be a tough challenge. We spent the next 3 days walking around the halls of the Salon del Mobile as well as the city. Apart from the sheer design sensory overload of the fair itself, these are some of the my highlights from the Milan Design Week:

Fair Highlights 2
Thonet; Kartell


COS x Sou Fujimoto

For me, I was really excited to see this, having seen Sou Fujimoto speak at the Design Indaba earlier this year. COS and Sou Fujimoto collaborated to create a “Forest of Light” – an installation of multi-sensory experiences.

Nendo’s Chairs

Japanese designers Nendo, created a series of 50 chairs, inspired by Manga-style comic books. Once again, these contemporary chairs were displayed in a contrasting space – the historic cloister of Chiostro Minore di San Simpliciano.

Nendo's Chairs
Nendo’s Chairs


The Restaurant – Tom Dixon x Caesarstone

Set in Rotonda della Besana, the installation was made up of 4 kitchens with 4 complimenting dining experiences, each one based around the 4 elements of earth, fire, water and air. We were lucky enough to be part of a VIP guided tour with Tom Dixon. It was great to hear his insight into the concept behind the installation. We also got to taste some of the delicious food that was conceptualized by Italian studio Arabeschi di Latte.

The Kitchen by Tom Dixon and Caesarstone
The Kitchen by Tom Dixon and Caesarstone


Ice Cream Socials

To say I have a slight obsession with ice cream would be an understatement, so when I read about Hem’s collaboration with gelato maker Gelateria Rigoletto to celebrate the launch of their new stool, Splatter, we had to go see what it was all about. We were not disappointed. Along with seeing some great furniture designs, we also got to taste the gelato. Prosecco Gelato with Peach Splatter or Pistachio Gelato with Strawberry White Chocolate. I had both.

Ice Cream Socials with Hem
Ice Cream Socials with Hem


I could go on and on, so I will stop there, but not before mentioning some other inspiring stops we made: Moooi – who doesn’t love what they do? Israeli design duo, Raw Edges and their colour experiments; Fondazione Prada and Bar Luce, designed by filmmaker Wes Anderson – the Italians can make a building this gold look this stylish!

Fondazione Prada
Fondazione Prada


We had the most incredible, memorable time. I certainly came back feeling inspired by all the design energy that pulses through Milan and I hope that I will be able to go back to Milan to experience the Design Week again in the near future.

Once again, I would like to say thank you to Caesarstone for running this amazing competition and thereby giving young students and graduates to the opportunity to have an experience like this one.