In the spirit of celebrating designers who are being innovative in design, we couldn’t help but bring you Siyanda Mbele; an emerging South African designer that’s bringing tradition into contemporary furniture design. What struck us the most was the Mvelo Desk, a desk like no other and perhaps might make you go to the office for reasons other than work. How does one merge tradition into contemporary design? Well, the Mvelo desk was designed to reflect the seeming marriage of people and their careers spending more hours than we would like at our desks.
“What interested me the most in the Zulu symbols is when two symbols are joined together whether triangle or diamond they represent a union. I translated that union as people being married to their desks/ and careers.” – Siyanda Mbele
Siyande brilliantly managed to fuse shapes from the Zulu and Ndebele patterns and symbols onto the solid oak table with charcoal monocoat and a leather top insert and nickel plaited aluminum base. Etched onto the desk are symbols of both the masculine (triangle) seen in the v-shaped drawers and feminine (diamond) found on the face of the drawers, that when joined together represent that marriage. Adding to this incorporation is the simplicity and functionality of the desk far beyond most. With the open V shaped drawers, this allows the user to leave books open at a certain page and fit in pens.
This desk reminds us of the work of MaXhosa by Laduma who has seamlessly incorporated the Xhosa culture into his men’s knitwear range; click here to see what we are talking about. Advancement and innovation in design can beautifully incorporate tradition as we have seen from both designers (fashion and interior design). This may be a desk symbolizing the marriage of man or woman to their career, but with such beauty and added functionality with a touch of tradition, that marriage doesn’t seem so bad.
See more of his work and this beautiful desk below.