Welcome back to our LUXURY AFRICA series. You may know that one of my greatest passions is African design and in particular, the luxury side of it. In this post, I would like to introduce you to a young furniture designer from South Africa, who recently caught my eye and is making a mark in the African, as well as international design scene.
Siyanda Mbele from Umlazi, a township south-west of Durban, graduated from the Durban University of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design in 2013.
Driven by his love for Zulu culture, Mbele founded Pinda, a furniture design company which specialises in luxury hand-painted furniture that combines modern design with traditional South African elements.
Mbele is inspired by African cultures, symbolism and cultural practices. He uses Ndebele, Venda and Zulu patterns in his designs, which are interpreted into furniture pieces with a contemporary African aesthetic with a modern minimalist and mid-century feel.
He explains: “I do research and ask questions. Each tribe can practice the same rituals in a different way or similar symbols might mean something different to another tribe. After researching I create a story that I want the piece to tell or an analogy that the piece will represent. Typically I take two-dimensional symbols or patterns and turn them into three-dimensional furniture.”
One of my favourite pieces from his collection is the of Mvelo desk made of solid dark stained oak, which we featured in our newsletter ‘African Design’ in 2017. The hand-carved Zulu symbols and the annual shape of the desk represent both the masculine (triangles) and the feminine (diamonds).When the triangles and diamond are joined together, they represent a union.
Another one of my personal favourites is the Nandini side table, which presents 2D Ndebele patterns. Each table is hand painted with simplified patterns and bold colours. The Nandini tables can be stacked, creating a totem which can be used as a shelving unit.
The Pinda side table is an extraction of the Nandini table with an industrial twist. It is made from laser etched ply with a choice of coloured legs that can easily be mixed or swapped around depending on the client's requirements.
When Mbele is not at work making furniture, freelance drawings and renders, he lectures part-time at the Durban University of Technology, passing on his knowledge and talent to emerging South African creators.
I am super excited to be able to share the work of these amazing African designers with you in my series, but we need your support! Please follow Pinda Interiors on Instagram to see more of Mbele’s amazing work and if you are looking for a new unique piece of furniture in your home, head to Ziora, where you can purchase his products.
If you want more tips on how to live a colourful life, download our free colour guide full of tips & techniques to help you introduce colour to your home with style and confidence.