SA’s hottest young design talent foregrounded at 100% Design Africa

Decorex Africa Reimagined
Decorex Africa Reimagined

SA’s hottest young design talent to be foregrounded by Clout/SA as part of 100% Design Africa at this year’s Decorex Africa Reimagined

Since 2016, Nando’s has been firing up the local design scene with its Hot Young Designer (HYD) talent search, unearthing new names and launching careers. Now, in 2022, the competition is in its fourth iteration. Not only has HYD called on upcoming designers to submit new ideas before 31 May 2022, but a major display of previous finalists and all the winners’ pieces is also planned.

Curated by Clout/SA’s creative director Tracy Lee Lynch, this showcase will form part of 100% Design Africa, which is co-located within Decorex Africa Reimagined, taking place from 16-19 June at the CTICC and 28-31 July at the Sandton Convention Centre. Included in the HYD exhibition will be work by Katlego Tshuma, Agrippa Mncedisi Hlophe, Samantha Foaden, Thabisa Mjo, Khosi Leteba, Siviwe Jali, Christian Botha, Sipho Twala and Thando Nxelewa.

Welcome to my jungle

Khosi Leteba’s Bodulo Bench, created in collaboration with Wiid Design and Clout/SA in 2019, is what originally turned heads towards what this artist can achieve. Now, he’s done it again with a range of eye-catching planters for the home and office. Then, there’s Siviwe Jali’s creation – a unique, yet modern-looking server, with mesh doors that let the light through, offering a range of different configurations according to where you wish to place the server and what you wish to use it for.

With a collection depicting the unexpected elegance of South Africa’s floral kingdom, Christian Botha’s Alwyn mirror and Alwyntjie desk lamp are all painted deep green for eco-clout, yet are cleverly lit with a cluster of orange-tinted “aloe buds” to bring natural beauty into the stylish home. And what about Sipho Twala, a self-taught furniture maker who believes carpentry and design fit together like Yin and Yang – an approach which has seen him create items such as his bright mirror and Gimba server, adorned as it is with graceful Ndebele and Swati-inspired etchings.

The way in which he thrives under the making process has seen Thando Nxelewa also become a member of this emerging cluster. As an industrial designer, his coffee tables and mirrors to be displayed at the stand are impressive due to the way in which they seamlessly merge different materials into an inspirational whole.

Winners weigh in

“Today, I look at products through a production-process lens versus just an aesthetic lens,” enthuses Katlego Tshuma, who took top honours in 2020 for his Sangu Bench, a seating solution inspired by woven grass mats. “I understand that ‘easier to make’ is superior to just ‘aesthetically pleasing’.”
Winner in 2018, Agrippa Mncedisi Hlophe, with his vibrant, flowing pattern treatment, says his design knowledge has evolved since the competition. “I learnt from HYD that design is more than what you see in your sketchbook or on your computer screen… I’ve learnt to visualise how the final design is going to look, and also to find the focal point for display purposes.”

After co-winning the HYD competition in 2016 with Thabisa Mjo, Samantha Foaden says her move to Hong Kong gave her design prowess a boost. “Like home, Asia is vibrant and I find inspiration on every corner: putting pen to paper with my idea and inspiration, a few layers of development, and then just jumping into the implementation of my concept. Most of the time this process works well.”

Foaden’s winning design was her beaded Buhle Bulb, which she continues to manufacture from her hometown of Durban. This multitasking mum has also recently added a children’s lifestyle brand to her range.

Co-winner Mjo, whose landmark Tutu 2.0 lamp rocketed her to success, believes designers can lack confidence and hesitate to move forward on their concepts – but these are the ones likely to end up most successful. Mjo’s latest brainchild, Alfred’s Lights, is a line of striking telephone-wire pendants that art writers are calling “a conversation-starting collection”.

“The final product is a community effort, the result of everyone's hearts and skills coming together,” smiles Mjo – much like the conjoined talent we will see hotting up the Clout/SA stand over June and July in Cape Town and Joburg respectively. Yet it all began with these nine artists entering a Nando’s HYD talent search, followed by many months – even years – of honing their skills to unearth new forces and better methods of creating cool things together.

To find out more about Clout/SA, follow @clout_sadesign #clout_sadesign on social media.



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Date: May 2022