The Clout SA and HUB ‘Right here, Right now’ Exhibition

PRODUCTION Tracy Lee Lynch for Clout SA CURATED HUB PHOTOS Justin Patrick

June 2021 marks the official launch of Clout SA – an innovative initiative that is taking South African design to the world.

While many members of the public will be finding out about Clout SA for the first time, the agency’s team has been hard at work building up to this moment for nearly seven years.

Clout SA is a purpose-first enterprise, creative agency, and business-to-business (B2B) market-maker for South African design, which aims to promote South Africa’s creativity, craftsmanship, heritage, as well as create opportunities for collaboration between designers and makers.

Much of that work was done on Clout SA’s founding project, the Nando’s Design Programme and eventually, the Nando’s Portal to Africa, an online shopping platform for designer furniture that has facilitated more than R60 million worth of sales across 20,900 products since it was launched in 2018, making it one of the country’s largest exporters of South African design. There are approximately 1 200 Nando’s restaurants located across the globe from Washington DC to Dhaka, and each space showcases bold, bespoke furniture items which are procured through the Portal to Africa.

As part of the Nando’s Design Programme, Clout SA has developed and facilitated one of South Africa’s top biennial design competitions, the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search, which has launched and supported tens of local design careers, including Mash T. design founder, Thabiso Mjo, one of the first winners of the competition in 2016.

At its core, Clout SA specialises in creating interior solutions for hospitality, retail, residential and corporate clients – its approach foregrounds a South African design narrative as a point of distinction. For the next phase of the enterprise’s work towards growing the South African design industry and turning South African design into a globally recognised category brand, Clout SA has invited corporate partners who share these values to join its mission by taking part in collaborations with its designer-maker partners.

As part of Decorex’s month long Cape Town Design Trail programme in June 2021, Clout SA will open an exhibition of South African art and design curated by Clout SA creative director Tracy Lee Lynch,  titled “Right here, Right Now!”. The exhibition will not only introduce Clout SA to the industry and invited members of the public, but also unveil a collaboration with HUB, a platform borne out of the Spier Arts Trust which has run the Spier Arts Academy since 2009, training artisans in the field of ceramics and mosaics, as well as supporting the development of visual artists.

The HUB platforms works to create collaborative commercial opportunities for artisans and artists. As part of the opening of Right here, Right Now!, from 21 June to 25 June 2021 at the home of HUB, the four-story iconic Union House building in Cape Town’s eastern district, Clout SA and HUB are inviting architectural and interior design professionals, corporate procurement agents and facilities managers, to join their mission to support, develop, invest in and build the future of South African design. The first three days of the exhibition will be opened to the above mentioned professionals, while the last two will be open to design learners and limited members of the public.

Looking for more design news? That a look at the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives 2021.