Our very own Fastracker, Thebe Magugu, has been nominated for Design Indaba’s annual competition. Though not for his ready-to-wear collections, on which he has built his reputation. This time around, a particular chair is getting the limelight as it’s been nominated for the title of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. We caught up with Thebe soon after the nominations were announced, to get clued in on his beautiful object.


What inspired you to cross into furniture design?

My interests have always been multi-disciplinary, and although THEBE MAGUGU is primarily contemporary women’s ready-to-wear, I want it to be able to express itself within other creative design industries. So, with each passing collection, I always try and make a special non-fashion object that acts as a companion piece to the main collection. 


What’s the story behind the chair?

For the chair, it was the non-fashion complimentary piece to my collection A Social Science, which was inspired by women in Johannesburg CBD. The collection, and in turn the chair, is bold, has an African motif and is a cross-pollination of big and small, masculine and feminine, modern and something borrowed from the past.

There is also something about the chair that looks like a found object, which tells of our unique ability as South Africans to cobble something together and just make it work, maybe a coping mechanism from our not so privileged past [a massive euphemism, I know!]

I worked with Emile Millward, an amazing craftsman who had the technical ability to make it both functional and ornamental. All in all, I think it was a very successful Special Project.


Thebe’s and Emile’s The Hawker’s Rocking Chair was nominated by Arye Kellman. The chair will be on show at the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town, from 5.30pm, 1-4 March.

Vote for Thebe and Emile or see who the other nominees are on Design Indaba, http://www.designindaba.com/festival/most-beautiful-object-in-south-africa/voting

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