Empowering Women in Design: Celebrating South Africa’s Creative Mavens during Women’s Month
Pushing Boundaries and Making History
Throughout history, women have consistently pushed boundaries and left an indelible mark on the world of design. From visionary interior designers to groundbreaking architects, women defied expectations and shattered glass ceilings. Their passion, skill, and unwavering determination propelled the local design industry to new heights, inspiring future generations.
Honouring Ingenuity during Women’s Month
Women in design are a formidable force, showcasing their unparalleled creativity and achievements. And what better time to honour their ingenuity than during Women’s Month, which included the significant National Women’s Day on 9 August? This perfect alignment allowed us to pay tribute to the remarkable contributions of these visionary women. Coinciding with Women’s Month, the country’s leading decor and design events – Decorex Joburg, 100% Design Africa, and Design Joburg – took place from 3 to 6 August 2023 and featured a host of influential female designers who took the local industry to the next level.
Empowering Women in the Design Industry
Women’s Month applauds the extraordinary roles women play in all spheres of South African society. Still, for these three authorities, the honour of hosting their shows during this significant time was an added opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary women of our industry. These women put on a vibrant display of creativity and talent at the events alongside a host of other exhibitors.
Showcasing Creative Expertise
The shows took place at the Sandton Convention Centre and were brought to you by Samsung, Plascon, Sanlam Private Wealth, and Lexus. The collocated shows boasted the creative expertise of female creative directors, interior designers, milliners, architects, artists, and more.
Propelling the Industry Forward
These powerful women propelled the local industry to new heights with their innovative ideas and boundary-pushing. Attending these events allowed attendees to witness their brilliance firsthand and be inspired by their trailblazing work.
Spotlight on Design Pioneers
Exhibiting at Decorex Joburg, Tshegofatso Mochubi (image above) is the owner and designer behind Fatso Interiors. It’s an emerging quality-oriented interior decor brand inspired by Mochubi’s combined love of fashion and art.
Bespoke home designer Kristin Hulda was at 100% Design Africa to demonstrate how one could transform their space by adding custom elements that inspired and fed the soul. Distinguished Living, a brand headed by Boitsheko Ganyane, created a ‘Room Set’ showing her creative prowess.
Led by Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo, Matri-Archi(tecture) is an association based between Switzerland and South Africa. It aims to bring African women together to develop spatial education in African cities.
Recognizing Award-Winning Product Design
A veritable doyenne of local design, Ronel Jordaan is a multiple-award-winning textile designer. Her hand-felted decor pieces and accessories were produced as part of a job-creation project she ran. They are exported all over the world.
Showcasing Young Talent
The Rising Star
Exhibiting as part of the Clout/SA stand at 100% Design Africa is promising newcomer Nindya Bucktowar, one-half of Durban-based bespoke ceramic studio Kalki Ceramics. In October 2022, she and her partner Nikhil Tricam were announced as the winners of the annual Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search for their ‘Fynbos’ server.
The winning piece, which was displayed at the show, turned to South African flora and desert landscapes for inspiration: ‘The colors that we developed at Kalki Ceramics were often inspired by our experiences of nature … a hike in nature, the dense forest, and the colors that existed there,’ said Bucktowar.
Insights from Design Thought Leaders
Exploring the Future of Design
Future of Design was an exciting fusion of physical and digital exhibits, interactive workshops, live demonstrations, and presentations by South Africa’s top design authorities, who spoke about current and future issues facing the design industry.
Attendees enjoyed an insightful talk from Hannerie Visser, the owner and creative director of food-focused design and brand consultancy Studio H; Tracy Lee Lynch, the designer behind Studio Lee Lynch and creative director of Clout/SA; and Georgia Black, the founder of micro-festival producers Littlegig.
Sustainable Design for a Better Future
Innovative Chair Design
Decorex Africa challenged local designers to create a signature chair that incorporated the five Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, and refuse — to be showcased at the central restaurant area of both Decorex Cape Town, which took place in June, and Decorex Joburg in August.
The display garnered an astounding response from renowned local designers. It also included creations from the likes of Andrea Kleinloog of Hesse Kleinloog, Sanri Pienaar, Hannerie Visser, and more. Attendees enjoyed unconventional surprises from visionary designers like maverick milliner Crystal Birch.
Where Art and Design Converge
Candice Berman’s eponymous gallery in Sandton, Johannesburg, has grown to be one of the leading contemporary art destinations in the country since its inception in 2013.