Mash. T is leading the charge to create a contemporary craft-driven design aesthetic for Africa. Founded by designer Thabisa Mjo, the studio brings together technology and traditional crafts to tell uniquely South African stories, using the medium of design.
THE STUDIO MASH.T
Over the years, Mash.T’s unique and contemporary design aesthetic has received coveted accolades such as “South African Designer of the Year, 2019” and “Most Beautiful Object in South Africa” for its award-winning, Tutu 2.0 Pendant Light.
Mash.T has showcased globally at exhibitions such as Milan Design Week 2019, 100% Design UK and currently has products represented at the Bonne Esperance Gallery in Paris. A passion for collaboration and supporting the local design scene also led to the studio curating “Sacrosanct”, a collective showing of South African design at Milan Design Week, 2019.
FOUNDER & OWNER
Owner and founder of Mash.T Design Studio, Thabisa Mjo, is passionate about preserving traditional skills and helping other small businesses. Mjo stumbled into the industry by impulsively entering the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search competition in 2015. The challenge was to create a pendant light with a contemporary forward-thinking South African twist that could be used in any Nando’s restaurant globally.
To the designer’s delight, the Tutu 2.0 light was announced a winner, and has now been installed in restaurants across the world, from Cape Town to Malaysia, Washington and London. However, for Mjo, who had never designed anything before, the real prize was discovering that she had a gift she had never tapped into.
Mjo has subsequently designed full product ranges and won several awards, thus securing her name as one of the continent’s top design talents. Most recently, Mjo has become the first South African designer to have two of her works, the Tutu Light and Mjojo Cabinet, be installed as part of the permanent collection at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) in the Louvre.
The Hlabisa bench which was produced in collaboration with Houtlander and master weaver Beauty Ngxongo has also been acquired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The quintessentially African aesthetic of Mash.T’s designs is a result of Mjo’s passion for working with artisans that have mastered traditional skills such as weaving and beading.
“For me, arts and crafts, and anything handmade, represent luxury, and my aim is to merge these traditional production methods with forward-thinking design.”
The Museum of Decorative Arts at The Louvre Museum and The Centre Pompidou in Paris has acquired some of our iconic pieces for their permanent collections. The studio has also showcased globally at exhibitions such as Milan Design Week 2019, and 100% Design UK.
Our mission is to contribute towards making South African design a category brand and as such, we collaborate with craft-makers such as world-renowned master weaver, Beauty Ngxongo as well as Qaqambile Bead Studio - a South African fine art
beading studio, and more recently, with multi-award-winning furniture brand, Houtlander.
“I can’t just be designing for the sake of designing, or because it looks pretty online. Building a business that will change people’s lives in a meaningful way, and that will outlive me – that is my passion.”