WORDS Michaela Stehr BROUGHT TO YOU BY Mazda
Bringing foraging and sustainability to the forefront of her life, Cape Town-based founder of Veld and Sea, eco-pioneer and alternative foodie, Roushanna Gray has designed her life around a variety of guiding principles that not only leave the planet better than she found it but opens the doors to education and fun for the people around her.
As part of Mazda’s “Made With Soul” Campaign, the brand has highlighted a series of specialised and curious individuals whose craft makes an impact on their surrounding environments. Roushanna Gray not only fits the brief but does so by imbuing a sense of calm wonder and respect for the planet.
‘It all started off with a cup of tea… Basically, I’ve always been a very curious foodie, I have a great love of art and nature. When I moved out to Cape Point about 17 years ago, I found myself in a space of stillness and slowness, enough so to really have all of those passions combine, and learn more about what the edible landscape here has to offer,” she explains.
What began small as a slow curiosity, has blossomed into a fully-fledged business and production, revolving around a way of life that respects and nurtures the landscape, providing tours and interactive educational experiences built around sustainability, food and foraging.
Roushanna’s design principles are intrinsically linked to Mottainai – a centuries-old Japanese philosophy that embraces the idea of respecting resources and their value while also reducing waste. Its origins derive from two words — mottai (importance or sanctity) and nai (lack of something). Together they form the expression ”what a waste” or ”don’t be wasteful.” This design movement is mirrored through how Mazda creates their vehicles, with consideration, care and respect for the environment, a classic staple in Japanese design philosophy and Mazda’s roots.
Roushanna’s carefully curated experience takes guests on a journey through education, from learning about edible flowers and sea creatures to collecting their own produce, creating recipes and finally, tasting the fruits of their labour in a completely reclaimed setting in a beautiful glass house. “The experiences always culminate in the final puzzle piece, which is tasting. It’s a half-day experience, at the very end all the guests sit at this beautiful long table in this glass house that is made from reclaimed and upcycled materials and all along the tablescapes are various nature-inspired themes.” The glass house was created and formed through a dream of Roushanna’s to build an indoor/outdoor space where you sit inside protected from the elements but are still immersed in nature and feel like you are outside. Together with her husband, they collected glass windows for three years to make the dream of the glass house a reality.
As a collector of things, Roushanna finds inspiration and joy through what Mother Nature has to offer. A perfect example of maximalism done right, using things from the environment in decor and design means that there is no waste and no harmful production processes in creating a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing space. “I have a very big passion for going into charity shops and second-hand shops and finding treasures there as well as in nature – whether it’s beach combing or finding little treasures on the forest floor, so our spaces are always filled with moments of adventure,” elaborates Roushanna.
After lockdown, people are moving toward a calmer focus on design and life, using what surrounds us and celebrating nature. Current trends are leading toward a new natural state of living, with a pared-back, meaningful and purposeful direction in creating a space where your design inspirations are born from. Keeping things local is a massive focus, empowering local makers and creators keeps design inspiration intimate and conscious, which aligns strongly with Mazda’s ethos.
By connecting with the driver’s soul, each Mazda is more than just a combination of metal, leather, and glass. It’s about creating an emotional connection where car and driver ultimately become one. To find out more about the #MazdaMadeWithSoul series, head to the Mazda website.