IN COLLABORATION WITH:
Jan Ernst, Neimil, Okra Candles, The Herd, The Mill Fabrics, Wolkberg Casting Studios
The Collection began during the long and difficult Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 whilst we were all working from home. During that time home became so much more to all of us and in the uncertainty of a world epidemic, our homes and the people we were with became synonymous with the idea of ease, refuge & safety.
The lockdown not only allowed us to see and imagine our homes as places of work & play, but as we all shared the experiences we had on social media, we got to see more into peoples lives and homes. From the varying architectural details to the different ways we all live, these differences helped us discover the things that make our homes and the universal idea of home the same. What we all truly want and need from our homes is that feeling of safety, comfort and ultimately belonging.
TheUrbanative is a contemporary South African furniture and product design company based in Johannesburg.The furniture and products are differentiated by the juxtaposition of abstracted African heritage inspirations with the functionality & aesthetic qualities of modern furniture
silhouettes, materials & technologies; whilst guided by the philosophies of story telling, craft, collaboration and design evolution. All of the products are designed and manufactured in South Africa.
Started in 2017 by Mpho Vackier (a process engineer turned interior &furniture designer), TheUrbanative’s work is a constant exploration of the role of culture and heritage representations. Along with that concepts of visibility & representation of African cultures in modern societies with the ultimate intention of telling African stories through modern furniture and product design.
As a brand we believe in telling African stories through design and with that belief this collection’s forms, textures, lines and colour palette are all inspired by vernacular African architecture from Nigeria and Cameroon to Niger and Mali. The rounded forms and relief details of the Musgum clay house sin Cameroon inspired our Oku hut candles available in Vanilla and sweet orange scents in collaboration with Okra Candles, In addition these organic forms have inspired the forms and pattern play of our Zorora quilt in collaboration with the local fabric house; The Mill fabrics.
By abstracting these inspirational vernacular architectural details and weaving the stories behind the global idea of home this collaborative collection was created with an incredible local community of makers,designers and crafts people with the feeling of home as a base of inspiration. The collection began with our Akaya lounge chair and thereafter evolved to include sculptural lights with delicate details, as well as organic shaped ceramics & candles, The collection showcases comfort with soft seating in the form of a generous couch and architecturally inspired ottoman, as well as a modern take on an old school quilt and a beautifully crafted mirror that blurs the line between art and function
The pieces of the collection whilst in form, texture. colour and patterns was inspired by some of the above listed African vernacular architectural design; the naming of the pieces were all inspired by words that define home & the feelings around home in a multitude of indigenous languages from the continent. We explored words that carry specific meanings &feelings in these languages
such as our Dehinineti drinks server; meaning safety in Amharic (spoken in Ethiopia) to ourIsinmi ottomans which relates to ‘rest’ in Yoruba (spoken in Nigeria).
We also explored names & meanings closer to home; our Hlutha table relates to the idea of being full /fullness/full belly in Xhosa; a beautiful illustration of not only being fed, but having a full heart too, Our Legae Tray. which means home in Tswana and the Hayani Tray, which means home in Tshivendaare also named after languages spoken in South Africa. By naming the pieces of this collection in different languages from this continent not only allows us to celebrate in those languages, people & cultures but through the exploration we learn more about the stories surrounding them.
When we create in communities the result of the creations become layered with not only the stories that we are trying to tell, but also the stories of the people crafting the pieces with us – this results in work with a more impactful and universal presence. This,and our obvious love for the collaborators in this collection, was the driving force behind making this collaborative collection. We want it to be unlike anything we have seen before by bringing together local creatives to create a community of belonging.
To us, home is not only a feeling, but it is also a space where different people, and ways of being can come together and comfortably take up space by being their most authentic selves. Home is not a structure or building, but rather the people, things and experiences that bring joy into our lives and