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

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


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!