Clout/SA and Nando’s Design Exhibition

WORDS Annette Klinger PHOTOS Justin Patrick

A recent furniture, lighting and pattern design exhibition by Clout/SA and Nando’s proved yet again that great design begins with even greater stories.

Tongue-in-cheek, tennis-inspired outdoor furniture. A tiled server channelling a Bauhaus sensibility in a fynbos palette. A pendant light that marries Afrofuturism and traditional African beadwork. The design vernacular that emerged at a recent exhibition by creative agency Clout/SA and restaurant chain Nando’s was as unmistakably South African as it was effortlessly international.

“It’s a collection of work from furniture, lighting and pattern designers who are defining the present as well as charting the future of South African design,” says Clout/SA creative director Tracy Lee Lynch, who curated the exhibition as part of a conference hosted by Nando’s for invited guests from the brand’s global business.

Immediately iconic was Nando’s HYD 2022 finalist Ryan Pinches’s sculptural Mount Sinai, where a black mountain, hand-carved from wood, acts as a coffee-table base, with two peaks seemingly emerging from the placid surface of its round glass tabletop. Fellow HYD 2022 alumnus Siyanda Magaba equally impressed with his geometric Ubuhlalu pendant light, where he translated the geometric designs of traditional African glass beadwork into colour blocks of nylon wire. Kalki Ceramics’ Nindya Bucktowar and Nikhil Tricam, who emerged as Nando’s HYD 2022 winners, also showcased their covetable Cactus server, which is being prototyped for inclusion on Nando’s Portal to Africa online ordering platform, so more folks can get their hands on it.

Clout/SA and Nando's Design Exhibition
Pendant lights by Nando’s HYD 2022 finalist Siyanda Magaba.

The old guard was also well represented at the exhibition, introducing even more future classics to the South African design realm. Longtime Nando’s Design Programme design partners Pedersen + Lennard launched a playful range of tennis-inspired outdoor furniture called Umpire, including an actual umpire chair in powder-coated steel.

And Mash.T’s Thabisa Mjo, whose now-world-famous Tutu light won her first place at the inaugural Nando’s HYD event in 2016, presented another addition to her telewire light pendant collection that she created with the late Alfred Ntuli. Comprising six woven bowl lights in a Mondrian-esque palette that are fixed to a rectilinear framework, the Sprinkled light bowl is another exquisite example of the storytelling at the heart of some of South Africa’s most inspiring designs.

Looking for more design inspiration? Sign up to our weekly newsletter, here.