The Ninevites Congo Rug Collection

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Inge Prins; Supplied

The Ninevites, a Swedish/South African-based design studio and collaborative platform founded by Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg, has released a series of new mohair rugs called the Congo Rug Collection.

The Ninevites, known for creating beautiful things with inventive designs in made-to-be-touched textures, recently released a new collection, including two collaborations with Algerian artists Walid Bouchouchi of Akakir Studio and Studio Granada Hills.

The Congo Rug Collection was initially inspired by Kuba raffia textiles from the Congo. The patterns caught Nkuli’s eye – “I started playing around with some initial sketches by reinterpreting the traditional textiles and adding colours to the graphics prints (usually made with natural colours in shades of browns and blacks),” she says. It was during this time that she came across Walid’s work. “I liked his style, so I reached out to him. The designs are bold and playful and strongly reference African heritage. And, of course, good quality and craftsmanship.”

After contacting Walid, the two creatives began chatting and brainstorming ideas and designs. “Two of those designs are part of the exclusive collaboration we did with the world-renowned Swedish interior decoration company Svenktt Tenn. The designs reference Walid’s ongoing series of Tifinagh typography.”

The Ninevites Congo Rug Collection
The Ninevites collaboration with Studio Granada.

Nkuli also collaborated with Studio Granada, another Algerian artist, for this collection. “A few years ago, I spotted their cover art on a vinyl record and was inspired. I reached out and we started chatting,” she says.

Each collaborative piece in the collection was handwoven by a collective of female weavers in the Western Cape. “I have been working with the ladies at Karoo Looms for eight years, and they put so much love and care into every piece they make. There are so many hands that go into making these pieces, from the dyeing to the spinning and weaving, and you can see it in the finish and attention to detail,” explains Nkuli.

All the Ninevites products are meticulously crafted in South Africa, Peru and Europe using 100% natural fibres, which are sustainable and responsibly sourced. Sustainability is a key aspect of The Ninevites’ products, and this collection underscores Nkuli’s commitment to using responsibly sourced and sustainable materials. “We used 100% SA locally sourced South African Mohair. For this collection, we also wanted to explore different fabric textures, like the tabby uncombed yarn. Some pieces, like the Afro and Granada rugs, combine uncombed and combed yarn.” |

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