Paragon Interface Director Claire D’Adorante won the Professional of the Year Award in the Architecture and Design Class of the Built Environment Category at the 2019/2020 South African Professional Services Awards (SAPSA), sponsored by Sanlam and W. Consulting.
In addition, D’Adorante was one of seven finalists for the Woman Professional of the Year Award, while the Paragon Group itself was a finalist for the Firm of the Year Award in the Architectural and Design Class of the Commerce, Law and Management Category.
Professionals from a wide range of companies were set to gather at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ballroom on the evening of 19 March. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAPSA Awards were indefinitely postponed.
The organisers subsequently undertook to progressively announce the winners for the 2019/2020 edition prior to hosting a future gathering for all finalists and guests. This marks the fifth edition of the awards, following a rigorous process of determining winners based on strict criteria.
“Paragon Interface has recently enjoyed visible success in undertaking two of the biggest projects of their kind in South Africa, Discovery Place and the Sasol headquarters. Both projects have been recipients of broad accolades within the industry,” the judges noted.
They added that such accomplishments would not have occurred without D’Adorante’s leadership. “She has been instrumental in developing the interiors business of the group from 12 to 22 employees. Her leadership philosophy is collaborative; enjoying guiding people in the right direction, adding her thoughts to make their ideas work,” the citation read.
Paragon Interface also won a 2020 German Design Award in the category Excellent Architecture – Interior Architecture for its work on Discovery Place for client Discovery and developers Growthpoint Properties and Zenprop.
Not only has Discovery Place struck a chord on an international design level, it is also testament to the depth of talent and creativity in the South African interior design industry. “The general impression is that we do not have the skills to compete on this level, but this recognition speaks otherwise,” D’Adorante points out.
In October 2018, Discovery Place was declared Office Design Winner at the prestigious Society of British and International Interior Design (SBID) International Design Awards 2018, held at the Dorchester Hotel in London in the UK.
Commenting on the Paragon Group itself, the judges expressed their admiration for the company, including the industry recognition it continues to receive, notably winning an API Award for the Hilton Garden Inn in Mbabane, Swaziland and several SAPOA awards, including overall winner for Discovery Place. These are over and above awards won in 2018 from SAPSA, SAIA, SAPOA and SBID.
“In difficult times for the built environment, the firm continues to attract reputable clients like Bidvest and Barloworld. Business growth is further underpinned by the group opening up an office in Cape Town and undertaking projects beyond South African borders in Kenya,” the judges added.
With the Covid-19 pandemic having an impact on the entire construction industry, D’Adorante stresses that Paragon Interface is striving to take advantage of the different opportunities this presents. “You have to look for the silver lining, and here constant innovation and adaptation is key. Paragon Interface prides itself on its flexibility and adaptability in changing market conditions, and being able to always provide our clients with cutting-edge design solutions,” she concludes.