Is beauty today determined by the same criteria as yesterday? This is the question Design Indaba, organisers of Mboisa - Most Beautiful Object in South Africa - posed to the public for their vote. Because Design Indaba is increasingly focused on the role innovative design plays in everyday life, and the positive change that it can bring, the Mboisa line-up of the top 10 objects goes from fashion and furniture to art and tech.
Each of the 10 objects in the line-up has been selected by a judge with a keen interest in design and each for varying reasons.
We’ve chosen five of our favourites. For a look at the full range and to place your vote, visit Design Indaba.
1. THE RIVER LOVE SOFA, Heino Schmitt Design
Nominated by TV personality Zuraida Jardine, this small yet high-end sofa packs a punch. With its retro aesthetic, clever extras and zingy Ardmore velvet upholstery it’s a statement piece that’d bring delight to the home. Set to be a “contemporary, collectible piece”, it features a double USB charging port, storage drawer, overhead lamp and magazine pouch making it a stylish allrounder. In keeping with the brand’s penchant for luxury design, the sofa features solid brass feet, wild pear legs and the leather pouch for magazines is hand tooled.
2. STELLAR SCINTILLATION, Chris Soal
Nominated by Kaya FM’s Bridget Masinga, Stellar Scintillation nods to this rising artist’s inclusion of found and ordinary everyday objects in his work. Stellar Scintillation deals with themes of value, consumption and currency, having been sculpted, threaded and woven using discarded beer bottle tops.
By making use of waste, Soal has woven new meaning into his work, playing on the illusion and pursuit of wealth with the colour of the tops – gold - a signifier of money and luxury. This theme also ties into the artist’s hometown of Johannesburg, the City of Gold. “I found an artist and a piece of work that has absolutely got me skipping in glee,” says Masinga.
3. COPPER AND GLASS KETTLE, Ebert Otto
This unconventional and beautiful kettle was nominated by Sumien Brink, editor in chief at Visi Magazine and funded by Innovus at the University of Stellenbosch. You can trust an industrial engineer to conceive of a kettle that boils faster and more efficiently - but it is gobsmackingly beautiful too. Ebert Otto’s kettle boasts half the boiling time of conventional kettles, thanks to its copper spiral chimney and handblown glass dome. A solid wood handle gently follows the curve of the dome and lends the kettle a decidedly Japanese aesthetic.
4. OKAPI X CAPSULE, Okapi, Riky Rick and MaXhosa by Laduma
Nominated by local style icon Felipe Mazibuko, the Yemasa bag is a cross-pollination of music, fashion and handcrafting at its best. “It’s a fusion loaded with originality and integrity of the South African design aesthetics,” says Mazibuko. Hip hop artist Riky Rick and MaXhosa designer Laduma Ngxokolo teamed up with Okapi in the creation of this glamorous and uniquely African handbag.
Featuring the signature patterns of MaXhosa’s knitwear range, as well as luxe details such as ostrich shin leather, designer inscriptions on the inside, a springbok horn fastener, hand stitching and cross detailing on the sides. We love that the bag’s strap offers a variety of options for the wearer.
5. THE NENZIMA DESK, Mpho Vakier
Nominated by interior designer Donald Nxumalo, Vakier’s Nenzima Desk is a nod to the local designer’s signature aesthetic of contemporary, African-rooted furniture pieces. For Nxumalo, the desk pays homage to African heritage with the bold motif on the front inspired by the intricate hairstyle of Queen Nenzima of the Mangbetu tribe in Democratic Republic of Congo during the 1920s. Vakier’s well-established hybrid of African heritage and modern design is right up our alley.
• The Most Beautiful Object in South Africa exhibition will be held at the Design Indaba Festival from February 27 until March 1. The winner will be announced at the festival.