Released amid the mass hype of Heatherwick’s Zeitz Mocaa opening in Cape Town just the other day the newly launched collection of OKHA design pieces held its own. From the brand that brought you the hypnotic solar mirror and the GT Swivel chair, their newer collaborations with select local artisans give OKHA an even more magnetic appeal than before. Among a number of collabs forged and unveiled before the public by the brand last week, it was that with Zabalazaa’s Atang Tshikare that caught our eye.
Atang has been on the lips of the design cognoscenti for some time now, most notably for his Le Bone Lebone guilded sculpture, a one eyed giraffe-like creature who seeks light and peace, which travelled with Southern Guild’s collectible African design collection to Design Miami and Basel.
Often described as an afrofuturist, Atang’s work has a primal aesthetic pulling from native African wisdom, childhood stories and mythology. Weaving in his signature illustrative and graffiti work, Atang’s output has a strong link to his own Africanness and a firm foot in the now, with many labelling his pieces avant-garde.
The OKHA & Atang collection, produced with OKHA’s Adam Court encompasses three pieces: Kaggen, Noga and the already popular Metsing- all of them inspired by creatures and elements of the natural world. “It was about tuning in and translating an almost spiritual concept into something tangible and present, it’s shamanistic,” says Adam. He goes on to explain that OKHA & Atang allowed the two to join forces on a common goal- to communicate personal and intimate narratives through art and design.
Metsing, the coffee table that opened the limited edition collection brings to life the flow and movement of water, after which the design is named. Using tinted kiln cast glass to embody the life giving element, the watery inserts evoke an instant connection, while a twisted frame of cast bronze supports and edges the glass. Metsing’s obvious organic aesthetic gives it an even greater link to the rawness of nature.
In addition to Metsing, Kaggen is a side table named after the praying mantis. Again using tinted kiln cast glass and solid cast patinated bronze, the table’s delicate shape is reminiscent of the mantis in its adulating stance. This particular stance reminds Atang of his thought process when in between projects, “searching for a balance between each creation is a thoughtful process which requires me to re-position my thoughts on the direction of my narrative, following a flow of sequences, like one defined limb following another,” he explains.
Lastly, Noga, the Setswana name for snake, is an elegant standing lamp. Inspired by the snake and its swaying movement, the light has articulated joints of leaded gunmetal bronze which give life and movement to the lamp. The patterns present in the Obeeche wood arms are detailed and all carved by hand bringing a tactile element to the lamp.
Each of the pieces in the OKHA and Atang series have been produced in limited editions of 16 and are available to order from OKHA.