A seat at the top


Tinotenda Mubayiwa with his award winning top design, detail of the elephant design cushion fabricThe Top Designs 2017 exhibition opens to the public from Saturday 18 March and closes on Sunday 16 July 2017. One exhibitor is Tinotenda Mubayiwa and this is his story.

It’s a long way from Zimbabwe to South Morang, but Tinotenda Mubayiwa brought a rich heritage to the piece of furniture he made in Production Design and Technology at Marymede Catholic College. The 2016 Year 12 student’s seat is one of only five wood pieces selected for Top Design 2017, an exhibition highlighting the best work in VCE Product Design and Technology, Media, Visual Communication and Design and Food Technology from 2016. Constructed from Jarrah, the impressive seat also features a cushion with an original design of elephants and lions, a nod to his African origins.

‘I thought that it would be kind of unique to bring my cultural background into the design of the seating/storage chest because I haven’t seen other students do that and my family are proud to be from Zimbabwe. I talked to my mum about wanting to make a cushion for the toy chest and she showed me all the clothing she had bought with her from Zimbabwe. She had so many different designs that it gave me ideas,’ said Tinotenda.

‘Tinotenda has a natural talent for design, and his folio reflects a strong Zimbabwean influence of pattern, shape and colour,’ said Marymede Product Design and Technology teacher Ms Robin Panousieris. With his flair for furniture design, Tinotenda is now studying a Bachelor of Design at Swinburne University.

‘I had a supportive teacher who didn't mind sacrificing her time to help me out. I wouldn’t have known what to do first to make this seat and certainly wouldn’t have made the cushion. I was also privileged with the resources I was able to use at Marymede such as the 3D printer, portable power tools and all the materials I could use to make production much easier ,’ said Tinotenda.

Top Designs 2017 will be officially launched this Friday before opening to the public at the Melbourne Museum from 18 March to 16 July 2017.