Caesarstone Student Designer Competition

My Italian Dream
Caesarstone Student Designer Competition - Winner’s Report

My name is Aimee de Villiers, a recent interior design graduate of BHC School of Design. In 2015, during my final year of studying, I won the Caesarstone Student Designer competition. As the winner, I was awarded with the amazing opportunity to visit any international design fair of my choice. With so many incredible design fairs to choose from the decision was tough to make, but I chose the Milan Design Week as I have always wanted to go to there.

My lecturer, Donna, and I arrived in Rome, dropped off our bags at the hotel and hit the streets. Our adventure began with exploring all the beautiful iconic architecture the city has to offer before heading to Milan.

We visited the MAXXI – Italy’s national museum of 21st Century Art and Architecture, designed by Zahah Hadid. With so many incredible historical buildings in Rome, it was great to see how beautifully this contemporary building was juxtaposed to them. That evening we took a stroll around the city and were lucky to see the Colosseum all lit up. Nothing has ever felt more adventurous and spontaneous as getting lost in Rome at night!

The next day, we did the typical tourist thing – a bus tour of the highlights of Rome. We wanted to take in as much or the city as we could before heading over to the Vatican for a tour of the museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.

On Tuesday, our 3rd day in Italy, we set off to Milan and once again, upon arriving in the beautiful city we were surrounded by the most amazing history and architecture. We set aside the afternoon to do some sightseeing before hitting the Salone del Mobile the next day. The highlight was the duomo (cathedral). I was a bit surprised to learn that we had to walk 250 steps to get to the rooftop of it, but every step was worth it. From the roof we could see the Milan cityscape in all directions and it was breath-taking. 

Early Wednesday morning we took a metro ride to the Fiera Milano, home of the Salone del Mobile. We had no game plan upon arrival other than to see as much as we could possibly could. After spending the morning at Eurocucina, the kitchen exhibition, we headed into town to see The Restaurant – a collaboration between Caesarstone and Tom Dixon. The installation was made up of 4 kitchens with 4 complementing dining experiences, each one based around the 4 elements of earth, fire, water and air. We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the exhibition as well as the cocktail party that evening.

The highlight of the fair for me was visiting the Salone Satellite – an exhibition showcasing the work of young, emerging designers. Another highlight of the day was visiting an exhibition by Raw Edges – an Israeli design duo who experiment with colour.

Friday was our last day at the fair, so we hit the furniture exhibitions before heading to see Nendo’s Chairs, grabbing some delicious gelato at Hem’s Ice Cream Socials, the exhibition by Moooi and lastly visiting Fondazione Prada.

Whilst sitting on the steps outside Bar Lucce, the restaurant at Fondazione Prada designed by Wes Anderson and indulging in some heavenly lemon-curd-filled croissants, I was able to reflect on the past few days in Italy. We had the most incredible, memorable time.

Thank you again to Caesarstone for giving me this opportunity. The trip has certainly made me come home feeling more inspired by everything I saw and experienced than I have ever been. I hope that I will be able to visit the Milan Design Week again sometime soon.