A collective of six talented South African designers will showcase their afro-contempo creations at the Ventura Future Bar in the Tortona District in Milan, Italy for Milan Design Week this month.
The prestigious Milan Design Week is an annual event that hosts an exhibition of furniture by international designers, along with a range of events, parties, and presentations, and premieres the latest trends in design for the next year.
The local designers will be displaying their work in their exhibit, ‘Sacrosanct’. Supported by Nando’s, the concept for the exhibit was developed by Thabisa Mjo, a renowned South African designer.
‘Sacrosanct’ exhibits Mjo’s and the other local designers’ takes on an architectural installation piece with an unusual structure that takes the form of a room-sized pod.
Mjo won the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search Lighting Design Competition in 2016 for her design Tutu 2.0 light, which has been exhibited at 100% Design in London and a number of Nando’s branches around the world.
Creative Director of the Nando’s Design Programme, Tracy Lee Lynch of Studio Lee Lynch, comments on the importance of promoting South African design as a category brand.
“There’s tangible evidence of a dynamic, layered culture filtering up in what’s being created here in South Africa. These emerging designers are passionate about telling that unique story. And how they tell that story is often through collaboration with crafters and other makers. Often a piece reflects so much more than just one person’s ideas or responses. It’s perhaps why, when works travel from South Africa, they get the response they get – because they feel like they’re a whole universe in one piece. There’s so much inspiration here that isn’t cookie-cutter, that isn’t very safe.”
Other work from other local designers, including Candice Lawrence, The Ninevites, Mpho Vackier, Bonolo Chepape, and Laurie Wiid van Heereden, ranges from ceramic vases and handwoven mohair rugs to an Afro-contempo chair called the ‘Oromo chair’, by Mpho Vackier.
The centrepiece of the interior exhibit will be a server with beaded panels by Qaqambile bead studio in association with Spier Arts Trust. The pattern was hand-painted onto the server by Sakile Cebekhulu.
Nando’s branches across the world display a revolving gallery of contemporary Southern African artwork curated by the Spier Art Trust. The online Nando’s Portal provides a space in which South African designers’ and artists’ work can be purchased abroad, and is one of the largest facilitators of South African design works exports. Since its launch, it has raked in over R16-million in sales.