Durban University of Technology’s Interior Design graduate and part-time lecturer, Siyanda Mbele’s “Mvelo Desk” recently scored a nomination in the category as one of the “Most Beautiful Object in South Africa” during the Design Indaba’s 2018 Awards.
Mbele is the owner of Pinda, which designs and manufactures hand-painted furniture inspired by the uniqueness of South African cultures. His designs provide an unexpectedly modern variation of African furniture and incorporate South African cultural references.
He uses Ndebele, Venda and Zulu patterns in the products, which are interpreted into a novel aesthetic that also influences the shape of the products’ legs.
Describing the concept for his Mvelo Desk, Mbele said it was inspired by how people are married to their careers, through the amount of time and days spent using a desk.
“I then made an analogy using the Zulu symbols/Zulu chevrons; the form of the desk represents both masculine (Triangle) and feminine (Diamond). What interested me the most in the Zulu symbols is when two symbols are joined together whether triangle or diamond they represent a union. I translated that union as people being married to their desks/ and careers,” he said.
Mbele said each symbol illustrated serves as a function and form of the desk. He also added that the open triangle V-shaped (Drawers) allows the user to leave books open at a certain page, slide down pens or pencils and pile up rolls of technical drawings.
Even though his desk did not take home the top honours, Mbele is still chuffed about his nomination.
“It’s a great feeling, I’m super grateful for the nomination from Trevor Stuurman. Mvelo Desk was nominated alongside South Africa’s top designers, and sharing the platform with them is incredible,” said Mbele.
In 2017 Mbele was featured in Destiny Magazine’s Power of 40. The Power of 40 profiles men and women under the age of 40 who are doing extraordinary things in their various industries.
He was also named Product Designer of the Year 2015 at the Nestlings Awards last year.
Pictured: Siyanda Mbele