Rising Stars: Ananta

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Sister-owned design studio Ananta focuses on creativity and upliftment, reimagining traditional techniques to make products that put the fun back in functional.

Ananta is a design studio founded by Cape Town-based sisters Viveka and Rucita Vassen. The name originates from the Sanskrit word for “endless” or “infinite”. With a mission to uplift communities through creativity and promote economic empowerment, Ananta works in close collaboration with craft communities.

Ananta’s Viveka and Rucita Vassen.

Viveka’s background in fashion design and Rucita’s expertise in graphic design sparked their mutual passion for creativity, crafts and collaboration, leading to the establishment of the design studio during the Covid lockdown in 2020. Their innovative approach to traditional techniques has earned them recognition as part of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives 2023 cohort. Ananta’s designs exude a delightful twist, and are characterised by vibrant colours, captivating patterns, and an atmosphere of joy, celebration and community. The sisters are committed to fostering a circular economy, and aim to create sustainable, ethical and eco-conscious products.

* Being a two-women show and a new business means there is more juggling in a day than anything else, making each day different. We’ve constantly got our hands on several things, including admin, meeting our crafters and makers, preparing orders, and quality control. One thing is for sure: the day always involves moments of being inspired and excited about new product ideas and possibilities.

* Creating well-designed spaces and pieces is about function for us. We also believe in creating positive energy in spaces through design. We follow the principles of Vastu Shastra – an ancient Vedic science of architecture and placement in relation to nature and the five elements to create a harmonious and peaceful living environment. It is a complex science based on ancient spatial geometry, calculations and alignment with nature to maximise the flow of good energy. It’s the ultimate form of holistic design.

* We follow resources such as Design Milk and Sight Unseen for industry updates, news and trends.

* India is our favourite destination for design inspiration. The colours, culture, vibrancy and authenticity are infectious. It makes you feel alive, and inspired to create beautiful and meaningful things. It’s also our ancestral land, and it ignited our love of crafts, artisan-made pieces and everything embellished! In India, the exploration of traditional crafts is incredible. From street vendors and chain stores to high-end brands, everyone celebrates and keeps reinventing hand-made crafts while supporting artisan communities. This has been a huge inspiration, and a driving force for us.

* We love our Maata Pita table lamps. They have a special meaning. “Maata Pita” refers to “mother and father” in Hindi, the male and female energy that creates life, and the endless love that manifests from there. The inspiration for the pattern was to create a radial, expanding love – like that of our parents’, who always light and lead the way. The design process was also interesting and layered. We both worked on the pattern, refining the forms and proportions, which resulted in a beautifully complete design, reinforcing the idea of family love and synchronicity.

* Colour and bold statement pieces are the quickest way to update an interior. We’re inspired by and love the Haas Brothers (Nikolai and Simon Haas). We first saw their work at the Guild Design Fair in 2014 and were instantly captivated. Their playful, quirky, imaginative pieces are your wildest dreams come to life. At the time of the fair, we were working in fashion and graphic design, and said to each other, “Imagine we could design pieces like these” – not realising a seed had been planted. Six years later, we met with Monkeybiz, and learnt that the organisation worked with the Haas Brothers to create their life-sized beaded Afreaks. It was a full-circle moment – realising that the designers who had inspired us years before had worked with the same artisans with whom we would build a relationship.

* Our garden is our favourite space. It’s our sanctuary. We love being surrounded by nature and being able to enjoy our meals under the sun. It’s a space filled with happy memories of pool parties and picnics with friends and family.

* If money were no object, we’d treat ourselves to Frances Goodman’s nail art sculptures. They are insanely cool!

* Our philosophy is “design to uplift humanity”. We believe in harnessing our skills to create an impact business, economically empowering the craft communities we work with. It’s important for us to celebrate our makers and preserve their traditional crafts. Being able to support and empower other artisans brings so much more purpose and joy to what we do, and makes the end product even more beautiful.

* We are currently working on furniture pieces and an Airbnb project, which we are really excited about. We will also be launching a range of woven handbags soon.

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