The Italian job
Local designers took on the design scene in Milan
As South Africans, we are well aware of the breadth and quality of the design coming out of the country. But it’s especially exciting when this can be appreciated by an international audience, and one of the most discerning international designs audiences in the world at that. Last week’s Milan Design Week saw the world’s major brands exhibiting their ranges and launching new products in various venues around the city as part of the five day celebration of design.
Two local exhibitors’ participation – willowlamp and Nando’s – marked landmark moments for the SA design scene. As the first SA lighting company to show at Euroluce, willowlamp exhibited selected works on the prestigious platform, thereby cementing its status as an innovator and market leader. On show were its statement making Southern Flame, the Halo and the Windchime – all pieces that demonstrated the company’s innovative and aesthetic confluence.
In the city too was a collective of SA design stars taking part in a group showcase, sponsored by Nando’s. The Sacrosanct project was situated at Ventura Future Base in the Tortona District. Conceptualised and curated by Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio, the pod-like structure housed dynamic pieces by an impressive line up of designers, including Candice Lawrence of Modern Gestures, The Ninevites, Agrippa Mncedisi Hlophe, Mpho Vackier of The Urbanative, Bonolo Chepape of Lula’s Clan and Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design. Mjo has a longstanding relationship with the brand (having previously won the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search Lighting Design Competition in 2016 for her Tutu 2.0 light). As champions and supporters of local design, she approached the brand when she was invited to take part at Milan Design Week with an exciting concept to get local design seen internationally. The result was a vibrant display of local talent on a visible and highly regarded global stage – a veritable feather in the cap for these young designers.