SA creatives flaunt their unique Afro-contempo style at Milan Design Week

12 April 2019 - 13:12 By Toni Jaye Singer
Thabiso Mjo’s Sacrosanct Pod featuring her award-winning Tutu 2.0 light.
Thabiso Mjo’s Sacrosanct Pod featuring her award-winning Tutu 2.0 light.
Image: Supplied

Six local designers are showcasing their talents in a wonderfully unique way as part of the Ventura Future exhibit at Milan Design Week in Italy. This acclaimed event, which pinpoints the latest design innovations and trends, will end on Sunday.

The SA exhibit, called Sacrosanct, was conceptualised and curated by award-winning local designer Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio.

Mjo created a room-sized 'Sacrosanct Pod' to house her and her fellow designers' work. Visitors are invited enter the pod, allowing them to be fully immersed in the world of South African design.

Stepping inside, your eyes are immediately drawn to Mjo's Potjie Server, which features beaded panels and a striking hand-painted pattern, mimicking the pod's exterior.

Another of Mjo's pieces, the Tutu 2.0 pendant light — named Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2018 Design Indaba — is also on display.

The vibrant interior of the 'Sacrosanct Pod'.
The vibrant interior of the 'Sacrosanct Pod'.
Image: Supplied via SMag

The interior walls are adorned with mirrors by Candice Lawrence of Modern Gesture, and ceramic vases by Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design are dotted about.

There are also rugs that gives a nod to Ndebele patterns by Nkuli Mlangeni of The Ninevites, and a chair inspired by a traditional African hairstyle by Mpho Vackier of The Urbanative.

This chair acts as a canvas for yet another designer to showcase her work: it's upholstered in a vibrant print by Bonolo Chepape of Lula’s Clan.

The Sacrosanct exhibit is being supported by Nando's in an effort to promote SA design as a brand.

Creative director of the Nando's design programme, Tracy Lee Lynch, says it's not surprising local designers' work is being so well received overseas.

 "Often a piece reflects so much more than just one person's ideas ... There’s so much inspiration here that isn't cookie cutter, that isn't very safe," she adds.