COVER STAR The eye-catching patterns on our cover are the brilliant work of Zinhle Sithebe, an illustrator as well as a Top 10 finalist for the 2018 edition of Nando’s Hot Young Designer talent search. The bright and bold style of her patterns grabbed our attention back then and we’ve been loving her work since. Make sure to keep up with Zinhle’s incredible work by following her on Instagram: @zinhle_feels
MEET THE TEAM TRACY LEE LYNCH Editor-in-chief, managing executive, Clout/SA and creative director, Nando's Design Programme MALIBONGWE TYILO Editor, writer, videographer JO BUCKLAND Art director, managing editor ANNE TAYLOR Copy editor CONTRIBUTORS Tracy Lynn Chemaly, Modupe Oloruntoba, Justin Patrick, The Lookbook Studio HARALD HARVEY Executive director, Clout/SA NOKUZOLA JENNESS Managing executive, Clout/SA ZECA LOPEZ Portal manager NANDI ZENZILE Logistics co-ordinator YASMEEN PATEL Portal administrator PRINTED BY Shumani Mills | shumanimills.co.za
2022 Changing lives
The Road to Recognition On creating a space for skill and talent to shine
Flame Studios A vibrant recording studio is brought to life with a bold new African interior
Glorinah Mabaso, Rennaisance Woman A creative force reawakening ancient cultural knowledge
Waste Not, Want Not
No matter how small, each piece of furniture at Nando's is a chance to share South African creativity
An Organic Landscape Ceramic art that speaks to the wonder of nature
Khosi Leteba wants to make you feel something
Right Here Right Now A definitive showcase of some of the best contemporary SA design
From Ideation to Manufacture 2020 Nando's HYD winner, Katlego Tshuma, shares some lessons learnt
Inventing a New Design Ecosystem Thando Ndashe is on a mission to strengthen local manufacturing
Collaboration Wins the Day Clout/SA at Decorex Africa
On the Wall
Growing Into the Urge to Create
Branson Centre Collaborates with Clout/SA Méthode Cap Classique meets innovative SA design
Design in Search of Solutions Designers take on the problem of social distancing
Cape Town artists are putting their mark on the city's walls
Centrality and Diversity Three designers reimagine Constitution Hill's Old Fort meeting rooms
Sustainability shouldn't be just a buzzword, it should be at the core of manufacture
100 Beautiful Baskets African weaving for the modern age
Hot Contest! Enter our Instagram challenge to win SA designer lights
To read Clout 2022 online scan the QR code or visit clout-sadesign.co.za
TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPH: MALIBONGWE TYILO
Work by Nando's HYD hotshot Thabisa Mjo at the Nando's HYD retrospective exhibition at Spier, curated by Tracy Lynch for Clout/SA. Patterns by Zinhle Sithebe that The Ilukuluku formed part of the Ilukuluku Collective, is a Cape project for City of Cape Town based non-profit group Town. Photograph by of volunteers that includes Justin Patrick artists, designers, architects and engineers. The collective, which was founded in 2018, creates colourful large-scale works of art; from building installations for Africa Burn to painting murals in Salt River, through to painting a school in the Cape Flats. Last year, they invited Zinhle Sithebe to design patterns that would be painted on large panels for the 2022 Cape Town Carnival. CLOUT 2022
THE ROAD TO RECOGNITION Through its dedication to mentoring and assisting design talent in South Africa, Clout/SA has created a space for skilled individuals to truly shine and be recognised on a local and global scale
DESIGNERS WITH CLOUT/SA
WORDS MODUPE OLORUNTOBA PHOTOGRAPHY SHO NGWANA CREATIVE DIRECTION TRACY LEE LYNCH PRODUCTION LOOKBOOK STUDIO
This article first appeared in House and Leisure Vol. 4: Build and was created by LOOKBOOK Studio in collaboration with Clout/SA LOOKBOOK Studio is a creative content studio and independent media company that is committed to showcasing, spotlighting and supporting the decor and design industry through visual storytelling. At LOOKBOOK Studio, design is more than meets the eye. lookbookstudio.com
The traits shared by the four designers in this feature made this a natural collaboration for all involved. They have pride in their roots, incredible tenacity and a passion for telling the world a better story about South Africa than it has readily accepted. Shot by emerging visual creative duo Sho Ngwana — also known as Lebogang Tlhako and Nati Kgobe — in their kasi-grounded, femmelensed style, these designers represent some of the unique archetypes operating in our design landscape and offer an exciting look at its great potential. @clout_sadesign @tracyleeloves @sho_ngwana
PATTERN BY SPAMANDLA MDUNYELWA
Masters at showcasing local design, Clout/SA is the brainchild of the same team that has powered the Nando’s Design Programme since 2015, with successful long-running projects including the Hot Young Designer talent search competition and Portal to Africa, a R60 million marketplace that’s become one of South Africa’s largest exporters of design. Facilitating everything from curated exhibitions to supply chain management, its purposefirst impact business exists to turn South African design into a globally recognised category. House and Leisure shares this passion for the development of the local design industry, especially when it comes to emerging talent. Coupled with an extreme appreciation for the work of Tracy Lee Lynch, creative director of the Nando’s Design Programme and director of Clout/SA, as well as one of House and Leisure’s editors-at-large, coming together to showcase Clout/SA’s incredible work and talented designers was a no-brainer.
‘It doesn’t matter how many beautiful things you’re able to make, if you don’t have a market for them and you can’t sell them it all comes to naught. So that’s part of the journey that we go on… We help [emerging designers] to prototype their pieces and understand what it’s going to take to create a business around the ambitions that they have with the designs that they’ve created’ — Tracy Lee Lynch on the role of Clout/SA
DESIGNERS WITH CLOUT/SA
Mpho Vackier of TheUrbanative
Engineer Mpho Vackier started TheUrbanative in 2017, after leaving a decade in extraction metallurgy behind to follow her passion and study design. Today, she helms a brand that blends modernist influences with cultureled storytelling: The Nasara chair, a collaboration with Something Good Studio, sees a brand print woven (by Greyroom’s Jonette Schoeman) into an organic form inspired by the fan-shaped hair of DRC’s early 1900’s Queen Nasara, a wife of Chief Akenge. “It is 100% hard work and sweat; it’s lonely, scary, stressful, and it’s super hands-on,” Mpho says. Along the way, she’s learned to ask for help.
‘When I started out I saw myself as a bit of an underdog; an engineer who had to prove herself in an industry she knew nothing about. More than anything, the feeling of being seen and sensing that the work I do is valid and necessary is a huge boost’
8C L O UCTL/OSUAT
Mpho is also in the uncommon position of owning her production process. “She has a massive workspace with all the machinery that it takes to bring these pieces to life,” says Tracy. “So she has to have a deep understanding of systems and the processes that happen in her universe, as well as being the flamboyant face of her brand and producing consistent quality. She is somebody to celebrate as a role model and as a black woman in South Africa in this role.” @theurbanative
SIFISO SHANGE FROM AFRI MODERN Sifiso Shange’s brand, Afri Modern, reinterprets Zulu iconography and beadwork as patterns and motifs on bold, modern furniture.
‘I’ve always loved how products make us feel and the power they have to make our everyday experiences more vividly beautiful. My love for design grew when I started expressing myself and sharing more of my culture through my work. It gave me a deep, meaningful sense of responsibility to preserve stories through my design work’
100% Design 2019 marked the start of Sifiso’s journey with Clout/SA – he was one of a group of designers pitching for the Portal to Africa marketplace. “He is an incredibly magnetic person,” says Tracy. “His design aesthetic is absolutely unique. He has a very strong sense of his identity and what he wants to say to the world and he brings so much love and energy to the space. Also, his references to heritage are incredibly exciting and the freshness that brings to the pieces that he makes — and the storytelling that is crucial to his brand — are exceptional.” “My highlight [of working with Clout/SA] has been how my work has managed to travel beyond South Africa. It has shown me that my work is worthy of being seen and celebrated throughout the world,” Sifiso says. Going forward he’ll be crossing more borders with collaboration, experimental mediums and new work that will “blur the line between design and art with strong attributes of function and practicality”. @afrimodern
PATTERN BY SPAMANDLA MDUNYELWA
MPHO VACKIER FROM THEURBANATIVE
DESIGNERS WITH CLOUT/SA
THABISA MJO FROM MASH. T DESIGN STUDIO Pictured here alongside the Bright side table, Mash.T Design Studio’s unmistakable xibelani-inspired Tutu 2.0 lampshade captured everyone’s attention as the winner of Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa in 2018. “It’s now part of the permanent collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris,” says designer Thabisa Mjo, who first connected with the Clout/SA team when she won the Nando’s Hot Young Designer competition in 2016. Thabisa feels that this helped to legitimise her brand, which is focused on perfecting its own e-commerce experience. From Tracy’s perspective, Thabisa will always be one to watch. “She’s one of those designers who never ceases to surprise and delight; she’s agile and exciting to watch. So I feel like no matter how often she’s been praised, she’s such an inspiration… She is incredibly generous in her vision of what she brings to the industry.’ @mashtdesign
‘Up to this point, it’s been my lived experiences. Going forward, it will be my curiosity’ — Thabiso Mjo on the influences of her design style
Thabisa Mjo sits below her Tutu pendant light, leaning on her Bright side table, both from MashT Design Studio
SIPHO KHWEBULA TWALA FROM KHWEBULA ARTS
‘If you could go back in time and tell 19-year-old me that he’d be making furniture for a living once he’d grown up, I’m certain that he would be very disappointed’ A career in design did not occur to Sipho Khwebula Twala until he took part in a learnership programme involving woodworking machines and power tools in 2013. He only joined the programme because it looked like it could offer him something more than his job driving taxis. His journey has been a rollercoaster: After starting and folding his own brand in two years, Sipho found work with David Krynauw and spent his evenings learning inventor CAD and Autocad from YouTube tutorials. At the beginning of 2018, Sipho could design and manufacture complex shapes in wood. By the end of the year, he
started Khwebula Arts, where he uses various African patterns and organic shapes to create unique, compelling designs. The Ndebele wall mirror shines with the fresh dialogue Tracy believes he’s creating around his work by trying new things. “He’s constantly pushing the boat out. There’s a lot of experimentation in his work, which is hard because you become known for your aesthetic and to keep challenging yourself and challenging the way you use your materials and your processes. It makes him somebody who I think is very exciting, and he deserves recognition even at this early stage in his career,” she says. @khwebula O
DESIGNERS WITH CLOUT/SA
Sipho Twala OPPOSITE A red Sphozo dining chair and Ndebele wall mirror by Kwhebula Arts
FLAME STUDIOS A vibrant African interior design treatment ignites Flame Studios at Constitutional Hill PHOTOGRAPHS ELSA YOUNG
Wallpaper by Rennaisance Design. Beaded light by Mash. T Design. Planter by TheUrbanative. Couch by Dokter and Misses. Rug by Pinda Designs. Ottomans by Indigi Designs and yellow cabinet by Pedersen + Lennard
Pendants by Mash. T Designs. Wallpaper by Rennaisance Design. Chairs by Naturalis, with pattern by Rennaisance Design
ohannesburg’s Constitution Hill is the new home of the strikingly designed Flame Studios. Named for the Flame of Democracy, this worldclass music recording studio opened its doors early last year. The interior design demonstrates stellar creative direction by the Nando’s Design Programme's Tracy Lee Lynch. It is more than just a music studio — it’s a culmination of design, architecture and art, with a distinctive and authentic South African aesthetic. Key pieces were selected from local designers such as TheUrbanative, Mash. T Design Studio, Pedersen + Lennard, Dokter and Misses, Glorinah Mabaso, Siyanda Mbele and Naturalis. The first impression is a bold use of colour. In the rehearsal room, the corrugated wall panels and geometric ceiling panels used for soundproofing appear in a deep blue. In another room, these same blue panels find their counterparts in lush green velvet couches. In the recording booth, black, white and grey elements are offset by striking red accents. Yellow is used only once — a modern server stands in front of a window like a glowing beacon. After the initial rush of colour, the intricacies of the interior design begin to reveal themselves. The walls are festooned with modern interpretations of traditional African patterns in shades of blue, green, black and red. The various, eye-catching patterns hail from Glorinah, one of the
winners of Clout Designers' Industry Days, which took place at 100% Design South Africa 2019. Naturalis’s vintage-inspired school chairs in plywood and steel are given an African twist by applying these same patterns to their surfaces. A felt-covered, two-toned blue occasional chair by Casamento sits in one corner. Closer inspection reveals vibrant yellow stitching and beadwork. Ottomans covered in monochromatic shweshwe fabric are scattered throughout. Mbele’s bright orange circular rug with a sun-inspired design cleverly mimics the roundness of the lights suspended above it. Beaded, drum-shaped chandeliers by Thabisa Mjo of Mash. T Design Studio hang interspersed with simple industrial pendants. Thabisa is the first local designer to have her work form part of the permanent collection of the renowned Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a museum of decorative arts and design in Paris, France. She also happens to be one of the very first winners of the Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) talent search. In all, the atmosphere reflects South Africa’s triumphant creative spirit. Amplifying this is a sensitivity to the past and the significance of Flame Studio’s location. Constitution Hill was the place where South African Struggle heroes were detained. This troubled history is acknowledged by leaving the exterior untouched and the entry passageway untreated. Within, sections of exposed brick and broken cement have been left visible between the vivid panelling and bright furniture pieces. “Respecting the heritage and history of the spaces was a key design focus. Sections of the walls and floor in the studio area were framed and left exposed, revealing the aged walls, which were then beautifully lit to highlight the magnificent patina of the architecture and remind all of the building’s powerful history,” says Tracy. The message is undeniable: the past has been honoured by integrating it into this space of profound change. The overall result is a celebration of South African contemporary design and proof of what can be achieved through South African vision and creativity. O
Parts of the original wall and floor are exposed and lit to reveal the building's history. Blue chair is by Casamento. Planter by TheUrbanative. Couches and coffee table by Dokter and Misses. Ottomans by Indigi Design and server by Pedersen + Lennard
‘Respecting the heritage and history of the spaces was a key design focus. Sections of the walls and floor in the studio area were framed and left exposed, revealing the aged walls, which were then beautifully lit to highlight the magnificent patina of the architecture and remind all of the building’s powerful history” — Tracy Lee Lynch
The wallpaper in the recording studio features a pattern by Glorinah Mabaso of Rennaisance Design
Glorinah Mabaso RENAISSANCE WOMAN
Whether designing textiles for fashion apparel or interiors, Glorinah Mabaso is a creative force on a journey to reawaken ancient cultural knowledge on the African continent through design TEXT MODUPE OLORUNTOBA PHOTOGRAPH DIVINE CREATIONS PHOTOGRAPHY
See more of Glorinah's work on pages 14-21
fter missing out on a competition, designer Glorinah Khutso Mabaso created a folder on her computer's desktop and called it Nando’s — her next target. For six months, she filled it with her ideas for the furniture for Nando’s casas that would later win her one of four top slots at the Clout Designers’ Industry Days pitch in 2019. “I’m halfway there,” she says of her goal behind starting the folder. “I have designed two pattern collections for Nando’s on the Portal to Africa platform and, so far, they’re doing pretty well… One of my patterns was recently sold in Dubai.” Glorinah’s Renaissance Design Studio specialises in custom-printed textiles, inspired by symbols dispersed throughout our continent’s rich tribal histories. “We always start with research on different ancient African tribes,” she explains. “Then I try to dissect that information … translate that into something that is visual — into patterns that you can use for fabric, upholstery, curtaining, anything.” Textile design wasn’t Glorinah's original plan. “I thought I’d be focusing only on interior design. At the time, I really loved residential projects. Now, I’m completely in love with textile design because I know how flexible it is.”
New on the design scene and still looking for a specialty, Glorinah entered a whole new world of opportunity when she first encountered Clout/SA, a growth engine for the local design scene that impacts designers long after the applause ends. “We went straight into the business course. They started right from scratch with how to register a business and went all the way to pricing and learning about the value of your brand and work… I learned a lot. I still consult with one of our business mentors. That’s how good it was.” Glorinah has since taken the market by storm, largely because her work is vibrant, electric and compelling in every medium. You may recognise it from the grand foyers of the headquarters of some of the country's largest corporate brands, such as Momentum and MTN. Recent renovators may have come across her wallpaper collections at Robin Sprong or the Fabric Bank. And, if you’re a Pretoria local like she is, you may have used one of the blankets she designed when visiting the Grove Mall on a chilly night. After collaborating on exclusive fashion prints last year for Fabrosanz, founder and designer Sandisiwe Mazibuko asked Glorinah to design the interior of its brand-new Nelson Mandela Square boutique. “It was very intimidating… I thought, ‘Gosh, I don’t want to fail in Sandton! In front of the masses!’,” she laughs. Glorinah did it anyway, collaborating with furniture designer and fellow Clout alum Sifiso Shange of Afri Modern on a Zulu-inspired design. Those on the local music scene may have visited the bathrooms at Constitution Hill’s Truth to Power Lounge, a Clout/SA brief Glorinah answered with a design that echoes the darkness and isolation of South African freedom fighters’ solitary confinement cells. From her 2019 win to the Con Hill project, Glorinah says Clout’s open and welcoming process took her by surprise. “It’s really not how I imagined it to be… You meet so many people and everybody’s like family. You never feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel so intimidated.’ You have this floor to just flourish.” Exciting announcements lie ahead: a capsule collection for Aranda blankets first; a collaboration with a kids’ fashion brand next; and, after that, who knows? “I want to see my work on all platforms — be it homeware, fashion, interiors … even on a book.” O
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT For our local designer-maker partners, sustainability is not just a buzzword, it is at the core of their manufacturing process TEXT MALIBONGWE TYILO PHOTOGRAPHS JUSTIN PATRICK; SUPPLIED
PUT A CORK IN IT!
educe, reuse, recycle. Many of us are familiar with the “three Rs” that are largely considered to be an effective way for each of us to help save natural resources, protect the environment and save money. Although “recycling” is arguably the most well-known of the three because of marketing campaigns around recycling initiatives and the ubiquitous recycling logo, it is the two Rs that precede it that environmental protection agencies say are the most effective. First, we reduce the amount of waste we create as well as the amount of raw material we extract from the Earth, and, second, we reuse material we already have rather than discard it. Should this not be possible, then we recycle. It is this kind of environmentally conscious thinking that informs the practices of many of our designer-makers when it comes to waste reduction.
“One of the most important aspects when it comes to sustainability is obviously the use of sustainable materials,” says Laurie Wiid van Heerden, founder of Wiid Designs. The award-winning design studio is renowned for its use of cork, a sustainable material that doesn’t require the cutting down of trees as it is sourced from regenerative bark of the cork oak tree. “The cork we use is also recycled material from the wine industry and the harvesting industry,” Laurie says. But that’s not where the studio’s “reduce and reuse” cycle ends. It also takes the offcuts from its manufacturing process, grinds and mixes these with a binder to repurpose them into new material it can use for other products. “There was a project at the end of last year where they took all my cork, recycled it, added a binder and then cast an outdoor floor for kids at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch. So now, basically, the children can play on a recycled cork surface that is obviously very soft, eco-friendly and very tactile,” says Laurie. He also emphasises the importance of quality and durability in design-making.
‘Sustainability in furniture is also about providing products that last, that are not pieces you might throw away in the next two years. They’re timeless, original pieces and not necessarily expensive’
Wiid Design creates collectable contemporary design from cork and other sustainable materials OPPOSITE Laurie Wiid van Heerden in Portugal to source cork
RAGS TO RICHES
ABOVE Weavers in Malawi make baskets from palm leaves BELOW Mina lampshades designed by STAC in Nando's Beckenham, UK OPPOSITE Kamari lampshades
Ashanti Design has been around for almost 18 years, and it has been creating fabric-based products for the past 12 years, all of which are made using offcuts from the fashion industry. A few years ago, the company calculated how many meters of this fabric it had cut in a year, and it came to about 19.6 million metres. “And that’s all fabric that would have been sent to a landfill,” says Ashanti Design founder Robert Walker. Beyond the focus on large-scale waste reduction, Ashanti presents a business model that ensures all its operations adhere to the three pillars of sustainability, which are the environmental, social and economic. To this end, the company also works with artisans throughout Southern Africa to produce hand-woven pieces such as baskets and lampshades. “We have spent many years working with these communities to develop our unique range. The weavers grow and harvest all their materials, consisting of palm leaf, bamboo, reed and raffia, and create woven magic with these wildly grown plant species. And they’re 100% hand-woven, using traditional plaiting techniques to achieve a loose weave,” says Rob. “We work with rural artisans throughout Southern Africa — primarily in Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya — to create commercial opportunities for existing skills,” he adds. Ashanti Design also has facilitators in different countries, who then work with the artisans.
‘We don’t work through NGOs and we make sure to work transparently with all designers and weavers. Everything we make is hand-woven and we use sustainable materials. There’s no chopping down of trees or chopping down of any materials that cannot be regrown’ — Rob Walker, Ashanti Design
INSPIRED BY WASTE “We take the road less travelled when it comes to sustainability,” says Luke Pedersen, co-founder of Cape Town’s Pedersen + Lennard. Its furniture is largely made from hardwoods, which it imports. “The South African climate isn’t right for growing hardwoods that grow very well,” he explains. The studio imports its hardwood from the US where the colder climate results in better quality timber. “That timber is going to outlast anything that we would have been able to get locally,” Luke says. “A lot of people might oversimplify and think that because the timber is from South Africa, that makes it more sustainable. But my argument is that if you’re putting all of the effort and cost into designing, producing, transporting and packaging, then you want something that’ll last for generations. So although the timber is imported, it will be around for generations, which makes it more sustainable than locally sourced timber that might not last.” The studio has produced items that come from this focus on waste reduction, such as a bird feeder that was designed as part of a design challenge last year, as well as a bedside lamp that was inspired by the need to use waste material. “When you look at the product, it doesn’t look cheaper. This is more about an approach to try and
OPPOSITE Pedersen + Lennard believes there is value in using quality materials that will last for generations
think of ways to use the material while it’s still on the machine. Our process is very digital — most of our machines are completely computerised — and that that allows us to be very efficient with our waste. We can cut far more pieces out of a piece of wood before it gets discarded.”
Offcuts are laminated to create new pieces, such as the Strata lamp BELOW Luke chisels out Isintu spoons that will be hand finished by MacGyver
‘I spend a lot of my time just walking around the factory, looking at all the pieces of waste that are coming off the machines, working out what to do with them. So much creativity can be born out of the decision to use things and not to waste them’
‘We don’t want to keep buying new materials. We’re just trying to find ways to reduce our waste instead of just throwing it away. So we try and use the offcuts to inspire other designs’
Candice Lawrence, founder of lighting and homeware brand Modern Gesture, always considers wastage when working on new designs. Modern Gesture’s latest light fixtures continue its Ndebele jewelleryinspired aesthetic, albeit in more muted colours, while also reflecting the designer’s commitment to sustainable design and manufacturing. Each of the lights was designed to make use of leftover material from some of their best-selling designs. “We don't want to keep buying new materials. We’re just trying to find ways to reduce our waste instead of just throwing it away. So we try and use the offcuts to inspire other designs,” says Candice. Some of Modern Gesture’s new wooden pendants, which are available from its online shop, are a result of this effort to reduce and reuse. These include the B-Hive, a wall sconce made out of birch wood in an elongated dome shape, as well as the strikingly carved Fountain pendant, which, at 77 centimeters, is nearly a meter long. “That’s how we become more creative and challenge ourselves, because the offcuts are not straightforward pieces of wood like you would get if you bought from a supplier. It’s about using odd shapes and giving them life,” explains Candice. “We don’t buy anything extra, we don’t go to a scrapyard — we use our own offcuts to inspire new designs. For example, when we cut our woven lampshade, which is one of our biggest sellers, then we’ll use the offcuts from that light for the Fountain light or our Column light.” For Candice, reusing the wood is part of the journey towards a design and manufacturing process that puts environmental sustainability at the centre of her practice. “It’s all those little things, you know, like … we use water-based varnish and we don’t throw away our leftover wax cord. Instead, we melt it together again, and then we carry on weaving with that.” o
Candice Lawrence with her Woven Necklace lights that grace Nando's casas around the world OPPOSITE Modern Gesture uses offcuts to create laminated wooden decor pieces. These were exhibited at Decorex and Nando's HYD retrospective exhibition at Spier curated by Tracy Lynch/ Clout/SA. Pattern by Zinhle Sithebe, painted by Ilukuluku
An ORGANIC LANDSCAPE Ceramic artist Jan Ernst de Wet has fashioned a unique collection that speaks to his wonder with the natural world TEXT TRACY LYNN CHEMALY PHOTOGRAPHS GREG COX, JACOBUS SNYMAN, LAAIK
When a boy grows up on a farm, there’s often an unwritten expectation that he will one day tend the land himself. Although Jan Ernst de Wet was raised on farmlands from the Free State to the Eastern Cape, he does not play by such rules of tradition. In fact, he creates a fictional landscape of his own design, shaped by these immersive moments spent in nature. His land is a creative one, defined by whimsical forms of clay, inspired by caves, mountains, ocean creatures, plants and fungi. “Nature is everyone’s — it’s part of the human experience,” Jan says of his muse. This is perhaps the reason his ceramic work is captivating people even beyond our borders, with universal shapes portrayed in pieces such as Veld, Sea and Forest candelabras. Even his latest Womb collection expresses a natural occurrence understood by everyone: the narrative of birth. The shapes of these hanging lights and wall sconces mimic the Cederberg’s Stadsaal Caves — “Caves that gave life to some of the first people,” says Jan, connecting nature to the human experience. That the artist began his journey with ceramics just two years ago during lockdown and is now represented by four international galleries is a trajectory rarely seen in collectible design. It began with an entry into Nando’s Hot Young Designer competition
‘Nature is everyone’s — it’s part of the human experience’ 32
Jan Ernst de Wet with one of his Womb lamps
in 2020. Jan has a degree in architecture, and was practising under Studio AN. At the time, work had come to a pandemicinduced halt and so Studio AN dared to design its first piece of furniture for the competition, landing up in the top 10 for its hand-painted steel bench. Jan so enjoyed that experience of making a functional, 3D object that he was soon experimenting with clay, a material he found most suitable to realising his ideas in the quickest way possible. With little formal training, he pushes the medium — creating forms, textures and functionality that are seldom seen in this fragile material. “I’ve been told that my saving grace is that I think I can do anything with clay,” he laughs. He proved this last year by producing a bench in collaboration with ceramic studio Vorster & Braye. Jan’s poetic approach to
ceramics — whether metre-tall “walking” candelabras, cavernous table lamps or seedpod vessels that house tiny stems — lends itself to an addictive Instagram page. It’s there that he was discovered by Bordeaux-based Galerie Revel, and later by Galerie Philia in New York, Collectional in Dubai and Mia Karlova Galerie in Amsterdam. He is now pursuing a residency with Galerie Revel, using his architectural skills to explore the topography of the wine regions of Bordeaux and the Western Cape, and reinterpret this as a wall installation in clay. Thereafter work will begin on a collaboration with Mexican designer and stone sculptor Andrés Monnier. It would seem that Jan’s landscape is prospering. In this world of his imagination, where borders do not exist and traditions can be defied, a pasture of organic design is sprouting. O
Jan Ernst de Wet’s Womb sconce, inspired by the Cederberg
‘I’ve been told that my saving grace is that
ABOVE Jan at work in his studio
Pieces by Jan Ernst de Wet in collaboration with Vorster & Braye at the Right Here Right Now exhibition RIGHT Jan’s Womb pendants
I think I can do anything with clay’
ON THE WALL As part of an initiative by House Union Block, Cape Town’s artists and artisans are putting their mark on the city TEXT MALIBONGWE TYILO PHOTOGRAPHS SUPPLIED
If you take moment and look up as you walk past the unmissable cobalt blue Union House building on Cape Town’s Commercial Street, somewhat nestled between the Parliament buildings on one end of the street and the Cape Town police station on the other, you might spot the relatively small yet striking mosaic artwork that depicts a flower, which simultaneously seems to resemble a human figure, bent over carrying a sphere that represents our planet on their back. Made up of tiles in shades of blue, red, green and other colours, it is no taller that 50 centimetres and no wider than a 30-centimetre ruler. Should you walk another kilometre further into the city and find yourself on Bree Street in front of the entrance to the Cape Heritage Hotel, you’ll be in for another similarly sized artful surprise when you look up above its door. This time around, the mosaic tiles depict a bird in flight. Unveiled in May this year, the two pieces are interpretations of artworks from Cape Town artists Kilmany-Jo Liversage and Robyn Pretorius, respectively. Both were made in collaboration with graduate artisans from the Spier Arts Academy as part of Guerilla Mosaic Bombing, a long-term public art project initiated by House Union Block (HUB), the commercial arm of the Spier Arts Trust. The trust provides artists with commercial opportunities through non-traditional gallery spaces, such as interdisciplinary collaborations with interior designers, furniture and lighting designers, as well as architects. The two artworks are just the beginning of the project which, in its first phase, will see eight Cape Town artists collaborate with 15 graduate artisans from the Spier Arts Academy to create various pieces of public art in mosaic tiles. “Public art can be a sort of equaliser, an experience that all of us can access while walking on the street. There is a body of research that shows that in places where there's public art, there is a greater sense of community. Businesses and constituents tend to pull together to make sure that the environment is safe,” says Mirna Wessels, CEO of the Spier Arts Trust and HUB. “The idea actually came from our partner on the project, Victoria Engelhorn, who is a director at Habitus [the Cape Town-based sustainable city development specialists]. She's very passionate
Mosaics showing the work of Kilmany Jo Liversage grace walls in Cape Town's inner city
about regenerating the city of Cape Town and promoting walking tourism — making sure that the city is a safe place for locals, for businesses, as well as tourists,” says Mirna, explaining that Victoria was inspired by the public art interventions she has seen on her travels. In addition to Robyn and Kilmany-Jo’s pieces, other confirmed artists whose work will soon adorn the city’s walls are: Adolf Tafadzwa Tega, Fanie Buys, Oivié Keck, Meshack “Shakes” Tembani, Xolile Mtakatya and Wonder Marthinus. Each of the images that will be translated into mosaic will be taken from larger existing painted works by the artists.
‘It’s imagery that is very much associated with the individual practices. It’s a single element from a painting or a work by an artist — be it Robyn’s birds, or Shakes’ ‘everyday people’, or Xolile’s beautiful abstract figures. It talks to contemporary SA society, it talks to the artist’s actual practice and it presents an opportunity for the public to get to know them better while also stimulating tourism, beautifying the city and stimulating opportunities for small businesses’ — Mirna Wessels, Spier Arts Trust 38
For each of the pieces, the team will put a QR code near the work, so that anyone who wants more information, can access it. The plan is to steadily grow the project through sales, by offering the artworks to the city’s businesses and property owners. By chance, Mirna also heard about the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture’s Mzansi Golden Economy grant. They applied — and eventually received R250 000 in funding, allowing them kick off the project by helping to pay the artists’ fees and for the artisans’ labour as well as covering project management fees. But for the project to grow to the scale the HUB and Habitus teams envision, they still need to raise much more funding. So they’re continuing with their initial plan to canvas support from the city’s businesses by offering to sell the artworks to companies for prices between R12 000 and R18 000. The team is also looking to engage an app developer to create a “basic app” that can be used to explore the locations of the mosaics and encourage users to walk the city to view the complete collection. The project has already received support from businesses such as Nando’s, Worldart Gallery and the Cape Heritage Hotel, all of which have committed to buying mosaics for their respective city buildings. “The idea is to sell the artworks to the landlords, or to the tenants with permission from their landlords as well as from the City of Cape Town,” explains Mirna. “The funds from the sales will then allow us to engage with more artists in addition to the initial eight. In this way, we can grow the map and expand the locations we cover.” o
ABOVE Mosaics based on artworks by Klimany-Jo Liversage, Fanie Buys, Shakes Tembani and Robyn Pretorius OPPOSITE Mosaics from artworks by Kilmany-Jo Liversage and Xolile Mtakatya
Two prototypes for Khosi Leteba’s Bodulo bench, created in collaboration with Wiid Design
GROWING INTO THE URGE TO CREATE Khosi Leteba wants to make you feel something. After claiming one of four winning spots at Clout Designers’ Industry Days pitch sessions at 100% Design South Africa, he founded Bupa Studios to do just that TEXT MODUPE OLORUNTOBA PHOTOGRAPH JUSTIN PATRICK
hile Bodulo, Khosi Leteba’s winning collection at Clout Designers’ Industry Days pitch sessions at 100% Design South Africa 2019 was inspired by his Sotho heritage, his multidisciplinary collectible furniture studio is named for it. “Bupa [Bopa] is a seSotho word that means to create, mould and give form. One of the ancient materials used in Africa is clay, which is flexible to mould… Bupa Studios embodies flexibility throughout creation,” says Khosi. His pursuit of an emotional experience for the user bathes his stylish, thoughtful, contemporary designs in a nostalgic light. “We achieve what we believe by making beautifully designed, simple-to-use products that will always be part of your life.” As a child, Khosi was drawn to art and design. “My brother Bokang Masilo introduced me to the arts. I remember back in the early 2000s, when we were both in primary school, he and his friend Macduff had windbreakers… He drew a wolf on the back of his and his friend had a panther. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.” Inspired to emulate his sibling, Khosi began teaching himself to draw in secret, later adding clothing and sneaker designs to his budding portfolio in high school. Eventually, drawing wasn’t enough — Khosi wanted to make things. “Growing up in a township and not coming from a really well-off family, and always seeing other kids
dressed up nicely … I was seeing potential in other design brands, maybe a Nike sneaker, and would think ‘If they could have just done this here, it would be better’. I always looked at buildings, objects and clothes and imagined how they could be improved.” The urge to create and iterate only grew, leading him to interior design studies in Durban, and then to Clout/SA’s door. His Clout Designers’ Industry Days win was followed by enrolment in its business development programme, designed to set emerging talent up for commercial success.
‘Through the programme, I learned about the business of design — manufacturing, logistics and so much more… That’s more important than anything if your mission is to liberate creatives because it allows them to learn to fish for themselves’ Next came the task of bringing his winning cork bench design to life in collaboration with Laurie Wiid van Heerden, the multiaward-winning Cape Town designer who’s known for his collectible furniture design pieces made out of cork. Clout/SA helped fund the production and its director, Tracy Lee Lynch, facilitated the collaboration. Following celebratory features for the finished product in VISI at home and Dezeen abroad, Khosi attracted a new collaborator very close to home: Aranda textiles, a leading supplier of the traditional Basotho blankets he grew up with. Khosi has shown work at the Spier Art Trust’s Right Here Right Now exhibition in Cape Town, at Johannesburg’s Constitution Hill, and at House & Garden’s CUSP exhibition of collectible, functional South African art. Now, he’s joined the team at Plantr, a company that offers bespoke architectural contemporary planters and other home features. Next, Khosi wants to show his work “everywhere”, collaborating with his heroes along the way and gradually unpacking a methodology for developing distinct subcategories of African design. O
RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW
EXHIBITION CURATED BY TRACY LEE LYNCH FOR CLOUT/SA ART CURATED BY TAMLIN BLAKE FOR HUB PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN PATRICK
To honour local artists' resilience and creativity in the face of the enormous challenges of the past two years, Clout/SA, in partnership with House Union Block in Cape Town, hosts the Right Here Right Now exhibition, an expansive showcase of some of the best contemporary South African design
PREVIOUS PAGE Server and mirror by Sipho Twala of Kwhebula Arts. Painting by Tafadzwa Tega. Bench and lights by Siviwe Jali, manufactured by Takk Studio. Bench by Anele Vezi, manufactured by TheUrbanative. Paintings by Sandile Ashabangane Mhlongo and Tafadzwa Tega. Chair and light by Christina Botha, manufactured by Takk Studio. Bench and light by Katlego Tshuma in collaboration with Dokter and Misses. Painting by Vivien Kohler. All art was curated by HUB. All collaborations were facilitated by Clout/SA CLOUT 2022
Art and accessories by established as well as emerging South African designers and artists on show at the exhibition
here have been many milestones in the journey of the past seven years and Clout/SA's celebration of South African design has been expressed in various ways — from facilitating the Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) talent search competition to hosting Clout Designers' Industry Days pitch sessions at 100% Design South Africa to establishing business mentorship programmes for designers. Our trip has taken us right through to the curation of Portal to Africa, the online marketplace linking South African designers to interior designers working on Nando’s restaurants around the world. June 2021 marked yet another milestone when, in partnership with House Union Block (HUB), Clout/SA hosted Right Here Right Now, an expansive exhibition spread across all four floors of the historic Union House building in Cape Town. Curated by Tracy Lee Lynch, it featured some of the best contemporary South African design, including
a variety of work from established awardwinning designers such as Wiid Design Studio, TheUrbanative, Dokter and Misses, and Mash. T Design, as well emerging talent unearthed through the Nando’s HYD talent search and the Industry Days pitch sessions. Alongside the furniture and lighting, Tracy also selected artwork for the exhibition from House Union Block’s collection, which is curated by the Spier Arts Trust’s chief curator, Tamlin Blake. “We had just come out of a really challenging time; lockdowns had devastated many design businesses. Still, we wanted everyone to remember that, despite all the hardships, there was so much to celebrate," says Tracy. "Creatives who have been isolated continue to work; they continue to find ways to push themselves, possibly more so than ever… It was very important for me to find an expression of that energy, a resilient energy and drive that still pushes on in the face of challenges even today.” O
Chair by Naturalis. Pendant light by Mash. T Design. Painting by Effo Munguanzo. Sculpture by Ben Orkin. Art curated by HUB
Furniture, lighting and accessories by Wiid Design. Paintings by Qhama Maswana and Olivié Keck and mosaic by Christo Basson in collaboration with Spier Arts Academy, curated by HUB
‘We had just come out of a really challenging time… Still, we wanted everyone to remember that, despite all the hardships, there was so much to celebrate. Creatives who have been isolated continue to work; they continue to find ways to push themselves, possibly more so than ever… It was very important for me to find an expression of that energy, a resilient energy and drive that still pushes on in the face of challenges even today’ — Curator Tracy Lee Lynch
ABOVE Screen, stool, chair, side table and lamp by TheUrbanative. Chair designed by TheUrbanative with woven seat by Something Good Studio. Art (from left) by Lizette Chirrime, Nqabutho Phakathi and Effo Munguanzo, curated by HUB
OPPOSITE Ceramic pieces including tables and lights by Nando’s HYD finalist Jan Ernst de Wet in collaboration with Vorster & Braye and Design Afrika. Basket stools by Design Afrika
FROM IDEATION TO MANUFACTURE For Katlego Tshuma, winning the 2020 Nando’s Hot Young Designer talent search is just the beginning of his journey towards understanding what it takes to bring an innovative idea to life. Here he shares some of the lessons he has learnt along the way TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPH MALIBONGWE TYILO
Katlego Tshuma and Adriaan Hugo sit on the final version of the bench they collaborated to manufacture
The original Sangu bench design that won Nando's HYD 2020 talent search competition
here’s what we imagine, there’s what we understand — and then there’s what we execute,” says Katlego Tshuma, the 2020 winner of the Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) talent search competition. His Sangu bench concept that won him the top spot was inspired by the ubiquity of the grass mat in traditional African cultures, where it is used as a screen as well as to sit and sleep on. Since winning the competition, Katlego has expanded on his initial Sangu concept to design several pieces that make up the collection. He says, “The Nando’s Hot Young Designer talent search is a design competition, it’s not necessarily a manufacturing competition. “So, for me, what was important was to develop an idea that could be executed in various ways, while maintaining the integrity of the overall concept.” Through a collaboration initiated by Clout/SA, the first of the pieces from Katlego’s Sangu collection was brought to life by drawing on the manufacturing expertise of Adriaan Hugo, the designer and co-founder of the award-winning design studio Dokter and Misses. More than a straightforward collaboration, the process has also been a learning curve for Katlego, whose background is in the advertising industry, with absolutely no furniture manufacturing experience.
‘There’s a difference between rendering a design and actually manufacturing it. This process has taught me a lot. One of the main lessons being that it’s nice to have great design, but it’s useless if you can’t manufacture it’ Katlego says that initially, when he submitted his drawings to Adriaan, the industrial designer couldn’t work with them. Adriaan explains: “There was a divide between the rendered design and what it could be. That gap had to be bridged; some development had to happen to make the design manufacturable. So I thought it might be good to get Katlego involved in the manufacturing in the factory.” Over a few weeks, the pair reworked some elements of the design, which is made up of about 43 pieces, resulting in the Sangu bench. It was Adriaan’s first time collaborating with a first-time furniture designer. “Each collaboration is different. And it works when both parties bring their best, when they are invested in the project and want to see it succeed. This worked very well because there’s that idea that everyone brought something to the table.” O
DESIGN DYNAMITE No matter how small, each piece of furniture at Nando's is an opportunity to share South African design with the world. Such as the recent collaboration between the award-winning Wiid Design Studio and Nando's HYD finalists to reimagine the Nando's table caddy TEXT MALIBONGWE TYILO
Table toppers featuring patterns by Spamandla Mdunyelwa, Primrose Chimhanda, Bonolo Chepape and Dillon Joseph
PATTERN BY SPAMANDLA MDUNYELWA
he collaborative relationship between Nando's and the world of South African design is a deeply productive one and has grown the Nando's aesthetic design into one of the most sustainable and authentic collaborations in Southern Africa. A charming example of this communal design approach is the new Nando's caddy or table topper, designed by Wiid Design Studio founder Laurie Wiid van Heerden and featuring patterns by four Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) 2018 finalists. The smallest piece of furniture in the Nando’s world, the table topper is an iconic sculptural piece that holds the table number, signature cockerel stick as well as the QR code to access the online menu. Conceptualising a collaboration that would deliver excellence was the task of Clout/SA. Of the process, Tracy Lee Lynch, the creative director of the Nando's Design Programme, says, “In the past, we’ve used incredible pattens by our HYD finalists across the globe in Nando’s casas, in both large scale and smaller installations. When Clout was approached to facilitate this item for Nando’s, it made complete sense to work with a local South African designer and manufacturer. "Laurie Wiid’s practice includes designer pieces made from cork, steel and timber. He is an incredibly versatile designer. His attention to detail is phenomenal and he merges creative solutions with practical applications within all his pieces. I had every confidence that he would deliver something exceptional.” One of the greatest rewards Clout/SA has received from facilitating the Nando’s HYD since its inception in 2016 is the incredible community of young designers that it gets to work and grow with. For this project, four finalists — Primrose Chimhanda, Bonolo Chepape, Dillon Joseph and Spamandla Mdunyelwa — will benefit from a licence fee and a little global nod to their excellence. Every table in every Nando’s should one day be their showcase space. The global rollout is in the works, with the table topppers already being tested in most of Nando's markets, locally and globally. Assisted by the manufacturing expertise and resources of Wiid Design Studio, each of the finalist’s patterns has been translated into powder-coated steel table toppers in a cut-out stencil fashion. The table topper is one of the most ubiquitous pieces in any Nando’s restaurant. Now, with this collaboration, it becomes a new vehicle to bring South African creativity and storytelling that much closer to Nando’s restaurant patrons, wherever they may be. As with previous collaborative design pieces facilitated by Clout/SA, the pieces are available on Nando’s Portal to Africa, the online marketplace that connects South African designers to interior designers working on Nando’s restaurants globally. O
In an exciting initiative that includes direction from Clout/SA and support and sponsorship by Nando’s, three rising local designers creatively reimagine the Old Fort meeting rooms and coffee shop at the historic Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. This interior design project introduces a vibrant local-led aesthetic to the heritage precinct, enriching its many-layered pasts and priming it for an inspiring future TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHS MALIBONGWE TYILO
ith a narrative that goes back more than a century since its commission in the last decade of the 19th century, the Constitution Hill precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, has gone through numerous iterations. During the Anti-Apartheid struggle, former president Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Joe Slovo, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Fatima Meer all served time there. As did tens of thousands of ordinary South Africans. Today, the former prison and military fort serve as a living museum and a venue for exhibitions and other events, as well as being home to the country’s Constitutional Court. While many of the interiors of the various buildings in the precinct have been redesigned to suit different purposes, from exhibition spaces to offices, the Con Hill team identified an opportunity to reimagine the interior of the Old Fort building, which was being used as meeting rooms and a coffee shop. With the support of Nando’s, which funded the initiative as a gift to Constitution Hill, Clout/SA invited three young designers to submit creative concepts for the redesign of the coffee shop and meeting rooms. They were Afri Modern founder Sifiso Shange, Pinda Design founder Siyanda Mbele, as well as Renaissance Design founder Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, who invited invited Omni Design’s Nelson Kubheka to collaborate with her on the pitch.
The screens and cabinet are by Sifiso Shange/Afri Modern. Chairs by Dark Horse. Art by Lungiswa Mkwasi, Aviwe Plaatjie, Judy Woodborne; Qhama Maswana and Christo Basson
‘The meeting rooms presented an opportunity to incorporate the particular aesthetic of South African design, artistic culture and visual language into the rich tapestry of history at Constitution Hill. This was also a unique opportunity to develop and grow emerging interior designers that have a strong connection to heritage and the ability to create sensory experiences’ — Tracy Lee Lynch, creative director of Clout/SA and the Nando’s Design Programme CLOUT 2022
ABOVE LEFT Screens are by Sifiso Shange, Afri Modern. Yellow cabinet by Dokter and Misses. Painting by Khayalethu Sineyile ABOVE RIGHT abinet by Sifiso Shange, Afri Modern. Paintings by Candice Kramer OPPOSITE Chair and side tables by Dark Horse. Laser-etched panels by Sifiso Shange. Painting by Henk Serfontein
eyond being an interior design project, the challenge turned into a journey of learning for the designers, each of whom had to take a deep dive into the history of Constitution Hill and, therefore, the history of South Africa. “It wasn’t just about designing and putting mood boards together. It was about how to create a conversation and tell a South African story,” Siyanda says. “When I started on the research with my team, we were talking about how little we knew about our history until we visited the site… And, every time, with each bit of research, we stumbled on something new.” For Glorinah, the process took on personal significance: “My dad was an activist. He was the first vice-president of COSAS… I grew up hearing these stories from him and it was the first time that I interacted with a space that speaks the same language. It became very real.” After the pitch process concluded, Sifiso’s design, dubbed Centrality and Diversity, was chosen as the winner. His concept features furniture and lighting pieces in vibrant colours and patterns from some of the most innovative young South African designers. For visitors, it offers a window onto the present as well as the future of local design.
‘Within the design itself there are a lot of screens, but if these were to block us of from each other, then we are still dividing. So what I did was create screens that have patterns that represent all of us — the males, the females, the young and the old. These patterns then create gaps and spaces in the screens to represent transparency, creating a space where we see and acknowledge each other’ — Afri Modern’s Sifiso Shange Geometric patterns and shapes inspired by Zulu culture have become synonymous with Sifiso’s design pieces. “The project allowed me to realise so much about the history of our country and where we are today … and, at the centre of everything, were the people themselves,” he says. In the spirit of the project, all three designers then collaborated to bring Sifiso’s vision to life. “These selected designers speak a language of rebirth and transformation. They have found new ways of expressing our South African heritage, of making creative connections and building community. Storytelling, art and design are their chosen tools,” Clout/SA creative director Tracy Lee Lynch explains. Visitors to Constitution Hill can now visit these interior spaces to uncover South Africa’s past and to experience its present and future first-hand. o
BRANSON CENTRE COLLABORATES WITH CLOUT/SA Great South African Méthode Cap Classique bubbles meet innovative South African design in a collaboration between the Branson Centre, Clout/SA and Nando’s Hot Young Designer finalists
As entries streamed in for the 2022 Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) talent search, South Africa’s leading young designer competition facilitated by Clout/SA, we carried on working and collaborating with many of the finalists from previous editions of the competition who have become an integral part of our growing design community. When the Branson Centre, the Virgin Group’s social enterprise accelerator, was on the lookout for ways to share its passion for South African creativity as part of its corporate gifting, Clout/SA stepped in to facilitate a one-of-a-kind collaboration with some of the Nando’s HYD finalists. The project saw the finalists’ pattern designs interpreted onto a selection of Méthode Cap Classique bottles. The designers from the 2018 leg of the competition were Primrose Charmz and Zinhle Sithebe, alongside winner Agrippa Mncedisi Hlophe and pattern designer Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, a co-winner of Clout Designers' Industry Days 2019, another Clout/SA initiative fired up by Nando's. The patterns had initially caught the eye of the judging panels at both Nando’s HYD and Clout
CLOUT/SA DESIGN COLLABORATIONS
Designers' Industry Days — not only because of their undeniable aesthetic appeal, but also because of the quintessentially South African stories they told, which drew on personal narratives as well as local culture and heritage. Zinhle’s design found inspiration in the popular Zulu tyre sandals, imbadada. She translated the sandals’ familiar black, white and red geometric shapes into a bold contemporary graphic pattern, giving it an unexpected twist with the addition of blue. Glorinah also looked to our heritage for her pattern, which celebrates the rhythm of the drum across different local cultures. For Primrose, the nature that surrounds us was a key inspiration. Her design began as an interpretation of the shapes one might see inside a chilli when cut in half, and it developed into a
stunning and complex geometric pattern. Agrippa, meanwhile, created a new colourway and interpretation of the design that eventually earned him the top spot in Nando’s HYD in 2018. The design took inspiration from his own personal journey. He wanted to create a flowing pattern that represents continuity and, as he explains it, “a reminder that in life we all go through problems and rough patches where we’re forced to take difficult curves, where we fall and rise again. But when we rise, we rise with more knowledge [and with] stronger hearts and minds.” Indeed! As Clout/SA, we’d love to give a joyful shout out to our design community who are always on hand with original ideas, as well as to the Branson Centre for its support of local creative entrepreneurs. o
TEXT: MALIBONGWE TYILO. IMAGES: SUPPLIED
Inventing a new design ecosystem TEXT MALIBONGWE TYILO PHOTOGRAPH JUSTIN PATRICK
arly on in her career as an industrial designer, it became clear to Thando Ndashe that among the challenges facing local industrial designers, one of the biggest was an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. In search of solutions, she founded TanDesignSA, which she describes as “a design consultancy that is on a mission to drive an increase in layman participation in the local manufacturing sector by using industrial design as catalyst, and placing a strategic focus on small-scale and specialised production”. Although she founded the consultancy in 2015 shortly after graduating, it would be a few years before she could focus on TanDesignSA full-time. Drawing on a career journey that has seen her put her expertise to work in product research and development, fast-moving consumer goods, furniture prototyping and production, logistics fulfilment and installation, she realised she had gained a rounded view of the industrial design profession. So, in May 2020, she decided to dedicate herself to design consultancy work, with a particular focus on supporting the development of young black industrial designers. “In South Africa, industrial design is a misunderstood and underutilised profession. This contributes to the general perception that, as a developing nation, we are incapable of turnkey design innovation and manufacturing our own products in the country. This further enables our dependence on importing finished goods from China and elsewhere. This is a tragic loss to our economy as industrial design has the potential to drive invention,
product development and innovation in ways that can contribute to more localised manufacturing, an increase in product intellectual property and overall GDP for our country,” she explains. Thando strongly believes the private sector can play a key role in supporting the development of designers by using their corporate social responsibility budgets to invest in more meaningful enterprise and supplier development programmes for design SMMEs that go beyond media exposure. “This way, the designers will be able to build sustainable businesses and create jobs long after the initiative.” After meeting the Clout/SA team at the 2021 Basha Uhuru youth festival, TanDesignSA began a collaboration with Clout/SA to do exactly that, in partnership with the Nando’s Design Programme. “This programme is the first manifestation of what I would liken to a meaningful accelerator programme for designers and makers that moves beyond just the design competition; it presents an opportunity to launch design entrepreneurs in the process,” she says. Since December 2021, Thando has worked closely with 2020 Nando’s Hot Young Designer finalist and founder of Umugqa Studio, Siviwe Jali, towards the prototyping of his Ntsimbi server design, which recently debuted at the 2022 Decorex Africa Reimagined showcase in Cape Town. The lessons and strategies developed during this process will go far beyond one designer, and will be the foundation for a business support model that TanDesignSA plans to roll out to other businesses. “In a collaborative effort between TanDesignSA and production partners, the Clout/SA team and Siviwe Jali as the designer, we are in the process of creating a training workshop that will use the Ntsimbi servers as a proof-of-concept case study for the prototyping
PATTERN BY ZINHLE SITHEBE
Thando Ndashe, the founder of design consultancy TanDesignSA, is on a mission to strengthen the local manufacturing sector for industrial designers
Lights and server by Nando’s HYD 2020 finalist Siviwe Jali of Umugqa Studio. The lights are a collaboration with Ashanti Design, facilitated by Clout/SA. The server is manufactured by TanDesignSA. Pattern by Nando’s HYD 2018 finalist Zinhle Sithebe, painted by Ilukuluku Collective. Stand design and concept by Tracy Lee Lynch, Clout/SA
process. This collaboration has also been a central inspiration to a strategic pivot within TanDesignSA to create a manufacturing enterprise and supplier development programme for youth employment efforts, and function as an implementation partner to the government and private sector,” explains Thando. The way she sees it, a truly economically
sustainable South African industrial design sector will have more “product innovations being proudly designed and manufactured in South Africa… Once there is greater awareness of the profession and its benefits, the utilisation of industrial design will increase and thus create an ecosystem of invention and innovation efforts within the local landscape”. O CLOUT 2022
CLOUT/SA AT DECOREX AFRICA
collaboration wins the day TEXT MALIBONGWE TYILO PHOTOGRAPH JUSTIN PATRICK
t the 2022 edition of Decorex Africa, Clout/ SA was named as the recipient of the show’s Collaboration Award, in recognition of our stand as “the most successful example of co-creation” at the knock-out show, which was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 16 to 19 June. This award is given to the team that has "best realised the creation of space for the ideas of others. This is about working together, sharing the same vision, collaborative values and execution, and their co-achievement in transdisciplinary exploration,” the Decorex Africa judging criteria explains. The exhibition, which was curated by Tracy Lee Lynch, featured work from a selection of the finalists and winners of the Nando’s Hot Young Designers (HYD) talent search. Thabisa Mjo, the very first co-winner of the first HYD competition back in 2016, was named as Decorex’s 2022 Designer of The Year, and Siviwe Jali, a 2020 HYD finalist, received the New Talent award, which is given in recognition of “the most prominent new voice in the design world”. O
PARTICIPATING DESIGNERS Ashanti Design, Pedersen + Lennard, Siviwe Jali, Sipho Twala, Anele Vezi, TheUrbanative, Katlego Tshuma, Dokter and Misses, Qaqambile Bead Studio, HUB, Khosi Leteba, Plantr, Wiid Design, Saks Corner, Glorinah Mabaso, Agrippa Hlophe, Spamandla Mdunyelwa, Primrose Chimhanda, Bonolo Chepape, Dillon Joseph, Zinhle Sithebe, Kamogelo Samkelo, Thandazani Nofinxana, Ditiro Mashigo, Mixo Mackaukau, Thabisa Mjo, Candice Lawrence and the Ilukuluku Collective
DESIGN IN SEARCH OF SOLUTIONS At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown regulations presented an existential crisis for many restaurant businesses. As regulations eased, Clout/SA looked to designers in its quest to come up with answers to the unexpected problem of social distancing TEXT MALIBONGWE TYILO PHOTOGRAPHS BLAKE WOODHAM
eyond affecting the individual and limiting our movements, our daily actions and interactions, the Covid-19 pandemic presented a challenge for businesses across the board, including the many designermakers we have celebrated, worked with, and supported. It was with this and other challenges in mind that Nando’s Design Programme creative director Tracy Lee Lynch started work on a series of screens and furniture accessories that would not only make social distancing more intuitive, but also an enriching aesthetic experience. While take-outs and delivery services offered one kind of solution, the reality was that even as regulations loosened up, people still wanted to visit restaurants to sit down for the familiar social experience. “People were craving those kinds of experiences. So we had to look at how we could make social distancing stand the test of time, and make sure that whatever we did reflected the Nando’s experience,” Tracy says. “We spend so much energy and resources on designing these
CLOUT/SA DESIGN COLLABORATIONS
ABOVE Social distancing screens by Dokter and Misses. Chair blockers by Studio Leelynch, manufactured by Naturalis THIS IMAGE Social distancing screens in a Nando’s casa
beautiful bespoke spaces around the world, filled with Southern African art and design, so how could it be that stickers would be the only solution we had to encourage social distancing?” For the past five years, Tracy and her team — together with Nando’s property director Michael Spinks and the full support of the company — helped develop Portal to Africa. It’s an online marketplace that connects South African designer-makers to interior designers working on Nando’s restaurants both in South Africa and internationally. The atmosphere of uncertainty as a result of the Covid pandemic also limited sales on Portal to Africa, meaning that a lot of businesses that were relying on the orders found themselves in a challenging situation. Tracy started working on a series of social distancing design concepts, starting with a “tableblocker” screen to create distance when Nando’s customers shared a table, or to block off areas.
‘To make it more interactive and to bring home the Nando’s experience, I created two opportunities: one to showcase our Hot Young Designers’ patterns,’ Tracy Lee Lynch explains, referring to the patterns created by the 10 finalists of the 2018 Nando’s HYD talent search competition. ‘This way, the young designers also got to earn a licensing fee for the use of their work. We also showcased artwork created by artists who are part of the Spier Arts Creative Block project’
CLOUT/SA DESIGN COLLABORATIONS
‘At the same time as we are practising social distancing by creating a practical solution, we’re also supporting creativity and showcasing beauty’ Social distancing goes beyond the table, however. Long before customers sit down at a restaurant table, there are many instances where they might find themselves not keeping the necessary distance. Any design solution had to take a far more holistic look at the restaurant space and experience from the moment customers walk in until they leave: from queuing and paying at the cashier, through to conscious and careful ways of using condiment stations.
As a result, a wide catalogue of items was created together with South African designers such as Dokter and Misses, TheUrbanative, Ashanti Design, Takk, Saks Corner and Pedersen + Lennard. Pieces include table-blocker screens, clearly marked bollards for the queues, contact-free hand sanitising units with foot pedals and “seat-stoppers” that cleverly indicate which restaurant seats cannot be occupied. The designs in the range were available not only for Nando’s 1 200 restaurants across the world, but also for other restaurants that were interested. In this way, they helped bring South African solutionoriented ingenuity, creativity and design thinking a little closer to restaurant patrons around the globe as they kept the necessary distance from each other. O
Sanitising stations by Takk Studio TOP Social distancing screens by TheUrbanative and Studio Leelynch in collaboration with Naturalis, featuring patterns by Nando's HYD finalists and Creative Block
BEAUTIFUL BASKETS An exhibition celebrating weaving from around Africa shows that the traditional skill is still highly relevant in a modern age TEXT TRACY LYNN CHEMALY PHOTOGRAPHS MARK WILLIAMS
If there ever were a craft to celebrate in Africa, it’s weaving. The hand-weaving tradition is so much part of our collective culture that it serves as a creative connector between nearly every country on this continent. 100 Beautiful Baskets — presented by the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town from November 2021 to February 2022 — displayed the craftsmanship and diversity of Africanmade woven works in a contemporary light. The show, curated by Platform co-founder and creative director Cathy O’Clery, displayed not only baskets, bowls and vessels, but hats, shopping bags, furniture, jewellery and tableware. “They are everyday objects that hold the potential to be museum-worthy objects,” she says. As a champion of African design and craft, Cathy is viscerally drawn to basket-weaving. “You instantly relate to the people who have woven these works of art,” she says. “Their individual fingerprints and expression are inherent to the piece.” The exhibition, which represented 21 countries — from Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda to Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa — honoured the designers and artisans as well as the businesses getting rural products to an international market.
Exhibition boards relayed stories of where pieces came from, the mathematics involved, weaving techniques, plant fibres used, industry innovations and more. There were tales of Burundian refugee returnees weaving to financially support their new lives; Ethiopian narratives of hospitality shared around the injera bread basket; handbags from Ghana and Eswatini that have made it onto the pages of Vogue; and even real weaver bird nests set alongside a human-scale version woven by the Cape Town Society for the Blind. Designer Thabisa Mjo, whose Bright side tables were on display, says presentations like this are integral if the craft is to be kept alive: “The exhibition showed weaving in all its glory. Not dated. Not curio. Just art and design and skill — so desirable! It highlights the evolution of weaving, in a way that acknowledges the heritage.” Thabisa worked with KZN-based weavers from Bambizulu to produce the ilala-palm tables — part of a long-term collaboration that has seen rural women apply their age-old craft to contemporary shapes and forms. She says she found the joint work to be important in advancing the industry.
‘It’s changed the mindset of the weavers in Hlabisa. Before, if I suggested something different, they’d say it wasn’t possible. Now they say, ‘Okay, let’s try’ — Mash T. Design’s Thabisa Mjo Athenkosi Ntenteni from Our Workshop, who weaves with recycled PET, had his triaxial weave baskets on show. “I’ve developed my craft to suit the modern world,” he says. “It’s sustainable, flexible, multi-functional and unique.” For him, weaving carries myriad opportunities. “It allows you to produce creativity with your own hands and to have your own business, which is an advantage when facing rising unemployment in Africa.” “Our basket-making is mostly exported, so it’s important for people to realise what an asset the craft is, and its value in telling our social stories and history,” says Cathy. “The industry needs to thrive so that we can continue enjoying these traditional skills for generations to come.” O CENTRE Weaver's Nest by Porky Hefer, woven by the Cape Town Society for the Blind LEFT Work by Nando's HYD winner 2016 Thabisa Mjo in collaboration with Houtlander, Bambizulu and the Hlabisa weavers
HOT CONTEST! It's competition time! Clout/SA brings you the Hot Young SA Design hunt! Stand a chance of winning one of three lights by Nando's HYD superstar Thabisa Mjo. There will also be spot prizes of Nando's meals for entrants. The rules are simple…
Visit your favourite Nando's casa (restaurant).
Look for any of the Nando's HYD finalists' lights and patterns shown in this magazine (clues on the next three pages).
PATTERN BY ZINHLE SITHEBE
Follow @nandos_hyd and @clout_sadesign on Instagram. Post the picture on Instagram and tag @nandos_hyd and
@clout_sadesign and hashtag #thehotyoungdesignhunt.
DM your post to @nandos_hyd and @clout_sadesign.
For three bonus entries, tell us: the light or pattern designer's name; the name or area of the Nando's casa where you spotted it; and sign up for our newslettter at clout-sadesign.co.za.
One winner will be randomly selected and announced on 30 September 2022, one on 30 November 2022 and the final one on 30 January 2023. Winners will be notified via a direct message on Instagram and their images will be posted on our Instagram pages @nandos_hyd and @clout_sadesign.
PATTERN HUNT Look out for any of these patterns by Nando's HYD 2018 finalists on chairs and tables, walls or counter fronts at your local Nando's. Examples of their work are on the right. Take a photo and follow the simple instructions on page 69 to win!
Chairs by Naturalis, featuring patterns by the top 10 finalists of the Nando's HYD talent search competition
Chairs by Naturalis, featuring the work of Spamandla Mdunyelwa, a Nando's HYD 2018 top 10 finalist
The outside of a Nando's casa painted with a pattern by Nando's HYD 2018 winner Agrippa Hlophe
A pattern by Ditiro Mashigo, Nando's HYD 2018 top 10 finalist, adorns chairs by Naturalis
HYD 2018 winner Agrippa Hlophe's design features on a Nando's server
A counter embelished with a woven pattern by Top 10 finalist Spamandla Mdunyelwa
SEE THE LIGHT! Look for the Nando's HYD 2016 finalists' lights in your local Nando's casa. Take a photo and follow the instructions on page 69 to win!
Beaded Necklace lights by Nando's HYD 2016 finalist Candice Lawrence
Tutu 2.0 lights by Nando's HYD 2016 co-winner Thabisa Mjo
Woven Necklace lights by Nando's HYD 2016 finalist Candice Lawrence
Buhle bulb lights by Nando's HYD 2016 co-winner Samantha Foaden
Painted Necklace lights by Nando's HYD 2016 finalist Candice Lawrence
Skyline lights by Nando's HYD 2016 co-winner Thabisa Mjo