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Paris, Grand Palais May 2019

The Hlabisa bench

A collaboration created specifically for the French fair REVELATIONS, between Houtlander, Mash T Design Studio and South Africa’s most prominent master basket weavers. The bench draws its inspiration from the 3-legged Potjie Pot and the rolling hills of Kwazulu-Natal.

The bench is a piece visual masterpiece that showcases design, craft, and purpose. The bench also brought about learnings for the crafters, in that it enabled them to learn new ways of utilising their skillset to incorporate it into other formats. Yet, there are elements that are not compromised on: design and material. The traditional materials are adhered to and the geometric design, which Africa is known for inspiring the cubists, are kept. The balance, the contrast, the textures are all kept in mind to ensure harmony – but to not compromise on quality and aesthetic value. Here Sophie’s role is encapsulated, and to see her efforts of building bridges and making connections pay off. It is the essence of weaving new bonds in the Rainbow Nation, which Bayakha Collective holds at the core. 

Ubuntu Beaded Collection:

A collaboration between Michael Chandler and George Magaso which is made from glass beads that represent the rainbow nation.

The following collection showcases the effects of combining designers and artisans. The beaded pots address African skills of beadwork and simultaneously addresses the crucial application of design thinking. In standard settings, beadwork would be sold as individual pieces for various decorative purposes. However, with this piece it is viewed as an entirety, and those vessels live as a collective body of work. This also speaks about the ideology of Sophie and her role with the designers and crafters; in that each of these are a body on their own but are immensely valuable and purposeful as a complete set.