Once again the annual 100% design expo put a spotlight on the latest in South African design. We were so excited to see the high level of innovation and creativity coming out of our beautiful country. Have a look at the incredible design, designers and trends that we spotted this year.
African essence
The allure and charm of African textile, pattern and weaving has made its way onto the design scene in a big and bold way. Bright, rich and earthy colours injected a unique and distinctly African feel to many of the products and textiles seen at the 100% design SA expo. Striking patterns were a feast for the eyes as zig zags, scalloped edges and triangulated patterns formed the basis for incredible wall art and printed upholstered fabric. Products were styled in a selective manner where graphic elements were injected with rustic textures, wood, brass, leather and colourful glass. Mash T design studio were one of our favourite designers at the expo and truly embraced an African aesthetic in such a fresh way, we couldn’t get enough of their Tutu 2.0 lamp by Thabisa Mjo for Nandos.

Innovative design
With competitions like the PPC Imaginarium, young creatives are given a fantastic platform to explore and exhibit concrete in unconventional ways. We loved the versatility and innovation demonstrated through incredible works of art. The diverse spectrum of industries including Industrial design, art and fashion were intriguing as they pushed the boundaries of typical materiality through weaving, pressing, casting and crushing concrete.

We loved the plethora of unique and fresh design perspectives this year. Doktor and Misses, a South African design favourite, launched their new collection which diverged from their better known design style. We thought their new designs were playful, quirky and absolutely original. Chunky prominent elements were paired with light and elegant ones, which created a unique and iconic aesthetic. Tonic also pushed the boundaries with their beautiful furniture which seemed to bridge the gap between soft and hard seen in their creative use of stone, metal and fabric.

Incorporating plants into design has been a continuous growing trend over the last few years with no end in sight. As technology gets more and more intrusive we find ourselves growing more concerned for nature as well as feeling the need to be closer to it. This year we loved the large green walls and colourful plant screens designed by Joe Paine. Elsje designs exhibited a collection of dainty hanging air plants which were mesmerizingly beautiful. Throughout the expo plants were peppered among the exhibitors, giving it a more natural and homely feel.

Trending materials
Many designers have moved toward a handmade aesthetic and as a result earthy, rustic and honest materials are still on trend. We saw many beautifully sculpted wooden furniture pieces. David Krynauw and Meyer Von Wielligh epitomised this trend, creating beautiful organic collections. Stone, concrete and ceramic products which were characterised by unique features added an earthy feel to the expo. Other materials like leather and cork also had their moment as part of the 100 most beautiful objects. We especially loved Dark Horse’s leather beer bottle holder. Brass, copper and gold are still favourites in metallic colour choices, often combined with a texture, fabric or wood to create visual harmony.

Once again the 100% design expo blew us away with their incredible stands and creative talent. As fellow designers we walked away feeling inspired and proud of the growing innovation in South African design.