Designers We Love: StèHan Botha

WORDS Bibi Slippers

Cape Town creative StèHan Botha is the co-founder of graphic and web design studio The Medium Design Solutions and multi-disciplinary design consultancy Insert Cool Name.  This designer and brandsmith lives by the words of icon Dieter Rams:  “Design should not dominate things. It should help people.” We caught up with StèHan for the story behind his work – from braai tongs to toilets.

What’s your style?

Timeless with a twist.

Who and what inspires you?

Life, the Bauhaus art school (particularly Marcel Breuer), Eileen Gray, Dieter Rams, Tom Dixon, Jony Ive, local designer David Krynauw, Ndebele art, Lego and liquorice allsorts.

Which products or designs are your favourites?

The Adjustable Table E 1027 by Eileen Gray; my wife Janie has two! Also, our Siemens Porsche coffee maker. It’s timeless, beautifully designed and durable. Almost a decade old, ours is still making our morning brew.

Which of your projects so far has been the most challenging?

The annual R5K project, in which you’re challenged to design, make and sell a product and earn a minimum net profit of R5000 in just a few months. Our team combined five braai tools (tongs, knife, fork, spatula and bottle opener) in one sleek product. The tricky part was designing tongs that could come apart to fulfil the other functions and transform back into tongs in a flash, but we were able to create an invisible spring-loaded connection using power magnets.

What are you busy with now?

Toilets. I’m completing my thesis on the sanitation crisis in informal neighbourhoods. I’ve discovered I am in good company, with many local and international organisations and individuals actively creating awareness and seeking solutions: The likes of Bill and Melinda Gates, Matt Damon, Bono, Richard Branson and Olivia Wilde are on the same mission.