Lisa Younger - Caesarstone Student Designer Competition Judge

​Lisa Younger, Interior Designer from Activate Architects joins the team as a Judge for the Caesarstone Student Designer Competition 2014

What do you think WDC2014 is going to do for Cape Town?
Cape Town will become a stage lit by a very strong spotlight. Over the next year, a number of creative communities will walk into that spotlight and say ‘look at me, listen to me, I have something important to share with you’, and they will offer their ideas and stories to an audience from all over the world, who have gathered to see, listen, learn, experience, and understand what it means to live creatively in Cape Town, in South Africa, upon the continent of Africa. What exciting conversations, and inspiring exchanges are about to happen!

Where do you see South African architecture and design in 10 years' time?
I hope to see the demise of the ‘Tuscan’ craze, flamboyant excess, high walls, low ceilings, and private swimming pools! I hope to see an increase in user-friendly, safe, and shared public spaces where we can re-learn how to live together as helpful and healthy communities. I hope to see wiser spending on self-conscious design that is aware of its footprint, and that embraces, builds and admires South African craftsmanship, skill, and artistic endeavour. And, I hope to see an increase in all of the varied employment opportunities that come with the construction, and maintenance of any building or project.

In your opinion, what are the biggest issues architects and designers graduating this year will face?
Finding a job.

Which of your peers do you admire?
I admire Sarah Roberts, who was my lecturer and mentor at the Wits School of Arts over a period of many years, from 1990 onwards. Sarah is an artist, designer, scenographer and academic. I admire her skill, her tireless energy, her ability to inspire, her eccentricities, and her amazing ideas.

If you hadn't ended up in the career you are in, what would you be doing with your life right now?
I was going to do a law degree, before I was infected with the visual and performing arts virus.

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self, knowing what you know now?
Be braver, and calm down.

If you had to choose between losing your sight or hearing, which one would you pick and why?
I would have to pick losing my ability to hear. Life without sight would mean that I would not be able to work as a designer and visual artist anymore, although, I would probably find a way.

Describe your dream vacation?
I would love to do an overland journey and exploration of the entire continent of Africa – using various forms of transport, doing various types of work, and sleeping in various types of places along the way, with no planned itinerary, and no deadline for completion.

What advice would you offer a final year student in your field?
Be prepared to work hard, and be humble.

Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga?
Gosh, neither.

Your favourite band at university? Your favourite band now?
Favourite bands at university – Radiohead, The Violent Femmes, REM, and Crowded House. Favourite bands now – Queen, and The Lumineers – there is a story in their music. Favourite solo artist - Poalo Nutini – Google him!

Which musical instrument is a good representation of who you are?
The piano – I am learning how to play it at the moment, and it speaks very clearly.

Which animal, bird, fish or insect would you choose as your personal logo?
A hyena – it is a fascinating animal, well designed for its purpose, a good improviser, a fierce mother, and a highly social creature.

Imagine we lived in a world where time travel was possible - "when" would you go to and why?
I would go back to the 1850’s thereabouts, to East Africa and Zanzibar, and I would enlist to join David Livingstone’s exploration team. I would have to change my gender though, as in those days women generally did lots of needlepoint.