Milan Design Week was held from 9 – 14 April 2019 and over 100 000 people attended the event. Nando’s sponsored an outstanding display of South African design, with six local designers exhibiting their work at Ventura Future Base as part of a striking installation entitled Sancrosanct.
Ventura Future is a platform for bright young stars from across the globe, offering the best of contemporary design from a mix of international academies, designers, brands and labels. Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio curated the exhibition with mentorship from Tracy Lee Lynch, Creative Director of the Nando’s Design Programme.
“It was a huge success. We sold over 26 000 multi-entrance tickets and over 90 000 individual tickets to Ventura Future,” said the Venture Future organiser, Magriet Vollenberg of Organisation in Design.
An impressive guestlist including international media, interior designers who travelled to Milan for the annual fair and visiting dignitaries such as the South African Consul-General in Milan, Italy, Ms TSD Nxumalo, attended Sacrosanct.
Tracy from Nando’s comments: “This visit was an example of design doing exactly what it should, connecting people and offering positive solutions.”
The response from the flood of visitors was overwhelmingly positive. “We had people literally crying because they were so moved. One lady even knelt in front of the server inside the installation and expressed just how emotional she felt being in the space. It went very well. We were heartened by how moved people were. We managed to start a conversation about South African design and introduce people to what is happening on the design scene here. We’re excited to see what other opportunities will open up because of this installation,” said Thabisa.
Besides the aforementioned server from Thabisa’s studio, Sancrosanct also featured designer lighting, mirrors by Modern Gestures; carpets by The Ninevites; Mpho Vackier’s Afro-contempo Oromo chair upholstered with fabric by pattern designer Bonolo Chepape of Lula’s Clan; and a collection of four ceramic vases by Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design.
Tracy says one of the most valuable aspects of taking part in the event was seeing the incredible response of the media and all the visitors to the stand.
“Our bold South African aesthetic and powerful inclusion of craft was truly celebrated. This aspect of our design elevated the curated pieces that were shared and created the opportunity to share personal stories relating to our diverse culture. Design has the power to connect people and to challenge perceptions, and to see this happening on the stand was the most powerful experience,” said Tracy.
Nando’s supported Sacrosanct because it seeks to promote South African design as a category brand. The restaurant chain – which originally hails from South Africa – has a network of 1200 global restaurants that carry Afro-Portuguese interior design that reflects the dynamism of its country of origin. In addition, the walls of each restaurant display a revolving gallery of contemporary Southern African artwork curated by the Spier Arts Trust, a patron to artists from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The bespoke, bold furniture items that are featured in Nando’s across the globe can be bought from The Nando’s Portal to Africa, which can be visited via www.bepartofmore.com. Since the portal’s launch in May 2018, over R16 million in sales has been transacted through the gateway. Nando’s doesn’t profit from this platform, however, the listed designers do. The portal merely facilitates the commercial exchange on their behalf.
Michael Spinks, Property and Development Director at Nando’s South Africa, comments: “Thus far, the portal has only been open internally to Nando’s interior design suppliers, but now for the first time, potential new partners have been given the same opportunity. External homeware retailers, interior designers, architects and related firms, can apply to make use of the portal to place orders for the items that were showcased in Milan.”