Creative SA: Lulasclan

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we would like to introduce you to the bright and bold creations of Lulasclan Design Studio.

Lulasclan (or Lula’s Clan) is the brainchild of Bonolo Helen Chepape, a Joburg based creative with a background in graphic design. While the Lulasclan style is steeped in Bonolo’s African heritage, it undeniably has a strong contemporary appeal. Bonolo refers to this style as “New African” – a fresh and chic interpretation on African design.

Following her passion, Bonolo left her 9-to-5 last November striking out on her own to form Lulasclan. It is in fact amazing to see how far she has come in such a short period of time – a true testament that one should heed Passion’s call.

Lulasclan recently launched a collection of scatter cushions titled “AfricanWest”. True to its name, the designs feature a marriage of African and “Western” motifs. Finding inspiration in the leaded lines of stained glass windows often found in Roman Cathedrals, Bonolo fused it with the shapes and bold colours of the traditional patterns of the Nguni people.

I am however even more taken with funky designs of Lulasclan’s previous scatter cushion range. The “Meet the Other Side of Africa” collection was launched end last year and features the retro-tastic portraits of several modish African ladies.

The series is said to celebrate Women. Each cushion, each woman, has her own inspiring story and individual characteristics. These scatters have a distinct Pop Art flavour and the use of pattern and colour within the designs are quite striking.

I think what appeals to me most about Lulasclan is the masterful fusion of two worlds and cultures. Her chic designs perfectly illustrate how African aesthetics can find a voice and global appeal in the contemporary design market.

Be sure to check out the Lulasclan website to see their full range of scatters.

You can also follow Lulasclan on FacebookInstagramTwitter.

Indigi Designs Do South Africa Proud!

Indigi Designs ǀ The Design Tabloid (4)

Indigi Designs is a design label founded by Natalie du Toit, whose passion for design and experimentation is evident in her growing product range. Said to be a fusion between contemporary design and local craftsmanship, each piece is proudly handmade in South Africa. The result – an unique identity with local flavour and global appeal.

Natalie, a qualified interior designer, left her corporate position as a creative director in February 2011 to start her own design company. She launched Indigi Designs at the 2011 Design Indaba in Cape Town where she had a fantastic response. The Undulate Stool, a brightly coloured wire stool with a distinct African flair, was an immediate hit.

In the same year, she developed and launched a boutique fabric range which features some gorgeous South African-inspired patterns and designs in trendy colourways. These textiles subsequently inspired a whole collection of bold scatter cushions (you might have noticed them at Design Indaba 2012).

2012 also saw the addition of some awesome new stool and side table designs to the Indigi furniture range. Similar in concept to the Undulate Stool the new pieces feature, amongst others, a more angular contemporary design that I absolutely adore.

The latest addition to the Indigi range is the brilliant Pumpkin Pouf. First spotted at Kamers Vol Geskenke last year, this funky number was a total show stealer.

Indigi has also recently been selected to be part of the South African Handmade Collection at the celebrated Ambiente Expo in Frankfurt! Congratulations to Natalie and her team – this is such a great honour and we are super proud to have you represent us abroad.

To see more great Indigi products be sure to check out their website: here or follow their Facebook page: here for the latest skinny!

Design Indaba 2012: High Thorn

By Marica

After a VERY busy 2 weeks, the dust has finally settled and we can focus on  the long overdue Design Indaba 2012 feedback we have been promising. Since the Conference part of our feedback is a little bit meaty and requires more thought, we thought it best to start with the Expo. Rose and I will be posting our general take on the Design Indaba 2012 Expo this week, including highlights and our favourite products and designers.

One stand close to the entrance caught my attention immediately – the beautiful African-inspired designs of Pietermaritzburg company, High Thorn.

Their handcrafted products include a wide range of lighting designs, coffee tables, ottomans, massive twig mirrors, leather pots, solid wood lampbases and turned vases, and even crochet leather scatter cushions & pouffes.

Now, I am not one that usually fawns over traditional African design, and I’m sure you are picturing tacky African masks, bowls and other general Greenmarket Square touristy junk in your mind as I speak. Not High Thorn – they have taken “African” to a whole new aesthetic level – it’s chic, contemporary, whimsical and trendy. If High Thorn is the proverbial traditional Zulu mama…she is carrying around a Louis Vuitton handbag (if you catch my drift).

It was the High Thorn lighting designs that totally stole my heart. Big, intricate chandeliers made from driftwood-like stripped jacaranda twigs hung with crystals, beautiful crochet leather pendants suspended like a collection of weaver’s nests, beaded bell pendants made from Imfibinga seeds, and a massive dramatic leather tassel chandelier interwoven with strings of glass beads.

The stand also featured stunning wildlife shots by Greg Anderson Photography including a drop-dead-gorgeous triptych of beautifully coloured birds in flight. To compliment this, a handful of High Horn’s trendy solid wood vases were painted in shades of aqua, lime and gorgeous coral to match the colouration of the birds. This combination of rustic nature and spring colours gave the stand a contemporary freshness not often associated with African products – gorgeous! I really have to commend them for this brilliant use of colour.

Because most of their designs are adapted to suit a contemporary style their products would not look out of place in a shabby chic, nostalgic or even minimalist residential interior. Although, Rose and I are secretly hoping there is a game farm / African hotel interior design project in our near future in order for us to use some of High Thorn’s beautiful designs.

Do check out High Thorn’s website for further in and product: here

1, 2, 3, 5 – High Thorn
4 & 6 – Copyright of The Design Tabloid
7 – SA Décor & Design