South African Designers Shine Bright in SOL’s Collaborative Design Project

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Supplied

SOL’s new collaborative campaign ‘Live from the Sunny Side‘ shines a bright light on South African design.

A group of South Africa’s most recognised designer makers, including Mash T Design Studio’s Thabiso Mjo, Lulasclan’s Bonolo Chepape, Modern Gesture’s Candice Lawrence, and TheUrbanative‘s Mpho Vackier, recently completed a collaborative design project with the South African team behind the global beer brand SOL.

With the support of Clout/SA, the project saw the designers create new pieces as well as adapt existing designs towards a collection that highlights an undeniably South African design approach, while also celebrating SOL’s positive and optimistic brand identity.

SOL Clout/SA Collaboration
Woven screen Mpho Vakier Urbanative; Woven screen Mpho Vakier Urbanative Sol surface standing lamp Candice Lawrence Modern Gesture andBench Mpho Vakier Urbanative.

“That light-heartedness and the energy of the brand made for a really wonderful match with our South African designers, who have that very bold and optimistic approach to their design,“ says Clout/SA executive Tracy Lynch, who curated the collection, The designs will form part of the brand’s various local activations, from in-store installations through to pop-up installations at music festivals.

“There’s so much talent here, and we’re very conscious of the importance of giving designers the freedom to be creative, because they are the experts in that specific field. So we essentially asked Clout/SA to bring our ‘Live from the Sunny Side‘ campaign to life through functional design pieces,“ says SOL brand manager Warrick Wyngaard. “Tracy’s curation did so in amazing fashion, so much so that when we saw the range for the first time, everything was immediately approved,“ he adds.

Each of the selected designers not only found a deep connection between their collections and the character of the SOL brand, but also gained fresh perspectives for their collections as well as opportunities for new products through the collaboration.

“For Modern Gesture, we’ve created a neutral range, but SOL helped us look at it in a new way, adding pops of colour, and it looks absolutely stunning,“ says Modern Gesture’s Candice Lawrence. She adds that the “the energy that that SOL has brought into Modern Gesture has been great … and it’s also helped us to be openminded about all the other things that we could do in the future.“

For Mash T Design Studio’s Thabisa Mjo, who has also participated in previous collaborations facilitated by Clout/SA, the impact of such projects on her business and the industry at large cannot be overstated. “I cannot emphasise enough the impact that big businesses have when they take a chance on us as small businesses operating in the creative industries. The ripple effects are really something that is underestimated. It also sends a message of confidence to other big businesses, that if this brand is confident and happy enough to associate themselves with the creative industry in South Africa, that they might be missing out on something if they don’t do the same,“ says Thabisa.

“The impact of projects like this is huge. Support from big business buying from smaller manufacturers and makers like us not only helps us upgrade our businesses, our techniques and machinery, it also helps us involve more people. Just this one project has helped three other people who didn’t work here before,“ says Mpho Vackier, the creative director and founder of TheUrbanative

“While South African designers have a unique design aesthetic, it is an aesthetic that can be celebrated globally, and be reflected in collaborations with brands that share our passion for South African design. This curated collection for SOL would definitely be at home anywhere in the world, while undeniably showcasing a contemporary and uniquely South African design approach,“ says Tracy.

The collection will launch at 100% Design Africa at Decorex Joburg from 3 to 6 August 2023 at the Sandton Convention Centre. For more information and tickets, visit Decorex100% Design Africa and Design Joburg

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