Claire D’Adorante, Director at leading interior design practice Paragon Interface, has been crowned the Architecture and Design Professional of the Year for the 2019/2020 period. The accolade was granted by the SA Professional Services Awards sponsored by Sanlam and W. Consulting.

Professionals from various organisations were set to gather at a gala dinner in Montecasino Ball Room on the evening of 19 March 2020 to honour the best amongst them. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SAPSA Awards were indefinitely postponed. The organisers of the event have subsequently undertaken to progressively announce the winners for the 2019/2020 edition prior to hosting a gathering for all finalists and guests. This marks the fifth edition of the Awards following a rigorous process of determining winners through strict criteria.

Janette Minnaar, the chair of the adjudication panel explained how the winners were determined.

“Individuals were judged based on a host of attributes including demonstration of leadership skills, changing of paradigms and innovation within the bounds of available resources. We also conferred a number of Lifetime Achievement Awards to deserving recipients who had served their professions faithfully for many years,” said Minnaar.

The firm awards were based on the following criteria – business growth, customer service, technical excellence, contribution to the community, contribution to the profession, transformation record and commitment to ethics and professionalism. The criteria were not equally weighted, a strong showing in one category was sufficient to put the firm above the rest.

“Paragon Interface has recently enjoyed visible success in undertaking two of the biggest projects of their kind in South Africa – Discovery Place and Sasol headquarters,”the judges remarked. “Both projects have been recipients of broad accolades within the industry. The judges appreciate that such accomplishments would not have occurred without Claire’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.”

Watch Claire’s acceptance speech below: