THE STUDIO MASH. T

Mash.T Design Studio creates award-winning furniture, lighting and accessories that celebrate African craft. Founded by designer Thabisa Mjo, the studio brings together technology and traditional crafts to tell uniquely South African stories, using the medium of design.

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.

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.”

To this end, Mjo is committed to working with small businesses that are preserving traditional skills. For the designer, it’s as important to help sustain and grow the businesses with which she partners, as it is her own. “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.”

TEAM

Mash.T is leading the charge to create a contemporary craft-driven design aesthetic for Africa. In doing so, the studio has collaborated with craft makers such as world-renowned master weaver, Beauty Ngxongo, Qaqambile Bead Studio, a South African fine-art beading studio, and multi-award winning furniture brand, Houtlander.

By working closely with crafters and other designers, the studio continues to do what it is most passionate about – creating sustainable economic opportunities for African creative makers through collaborative product design.

BAMBIZULU

Bambizulu, was created by Sinegugu Mchunu, granddaughter to Masterweaver Beauty Ngxongo, as a platform to represent the work of artists in the Hlabisa area to a wider public.

“Our intention is for the artist to better govern the price of their art  minimizing the number of intermediaries between the artist and the final buyer thereby ensuring more of the sale value flows directly to the artist.” The sustainability of Zulu basketry and African craft business and preservation of the traditional craft arts is a vital aspect that contributes to the global movement towards a greener environment.

ALÈRI ODENDAAL

Aléri Isbell is a ceramist and sculptor based in Cape Town.  When she is not working on her own projects, she collaborates with designers and homeowners to realise their individual concepts and ideas.

Before starting her own business Oden Design, she spent more than a decade sculpting and creating visual effects for the film industry.

UNATHI TWALA

Igama lam NdinguUnathi – a Communications Specialist and Founder of Ntinga Africa Media, a Pan-African PR Consultancy focused on the continuation of global storytelling on the African continent.

ALFRED NTULI

In the late 1960s, Zulu night watchmen started weaving scraps of telephone wire around their traditional sticks. The practice became popular among Zulu communities and today there is great innovation and creativity in the use of this medium. Renowned weaver, Alfred Ntuli is best known for his diamond-patterned, traditionally shaped pots with lids.

NGWAKO MATLOHA

Industrial designer (University of Johannesburg)

Mechatronics Engineer (Tshwane University of Technology)

Founder of Digital Design Studio

KHANYI TSHUME

A strategist and marketer with over 10 years of experience. Although she started her career in the advertising industry, she has worked in a range of industries such as finance, communications, beauty and retail for global and local companies alike. Khanyi holds an MBA obtained in Bologna, Italy from the Bologna Business School where she mastered Design and Luxury Goods. 

DERRILY-LEE HODGKINSON

An artist and crafter that specializes in handcrafted items including woven and beaded lights and divider screens.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts Technology (Entertainment Technology -specializing and decor and prop making) and a Nation Diploma in Textile design.

Derrily-Lee had been working with Thabisa since the launch of her brand in 2016 when the first Tutu light that was introduced onto the market.

She enjoys working with many different mediums and techniques and is passionate about problem solving to create individual pieces for clients to suit their personal taste. Her interests also include fine arts, various textiles, interior design and generally all things beautiful.

QAQAMBILE BEAD STUDIO

Fine art bead studio is run by 3 dynamic artisans and businesswomen; Nolubabalo Kanku, Neliswa Skiti and Mandisa Masina. Qaqambile has enjoyed a long relationship with Spier Arts Trust. Qaqambile has worked with professional artists to translate brushstrokes into panels of thousands of beads.

BEAUTY NGXONGO

Beauty Batimbele Ngxongo is a world-renowned artist and a custodian of the craft of Zulu Basketry.

“My baskets have gone beyond the point of craft and functionality and are creations of art. They are expressions and reflections of my personality. Trapped in each basket is a bit of my soul. Yet, woven in each basket is the tradition of my people the Zulu that stretches over many centuries. Each basket though stitched with a weave unique to me, nonetheless carries with it the method of basketry born of necessity and functionality that has served the Zulu’s needs well for hundreds of years. I find my creativity between the spaces of craft and art thereby blurring the two.” Beauty’s work is at The Met in New York and has also been shown at the Smithsonian museum.

ALFRED NTULI

In the late 1960s, Zulu night watchmen started weaving scraps of telephone wire around their traditional sticks. The practice became popular among Zulu communities and today there is great innovation and creativity in the use of this medium. Renowned weaver, Alfred Ntuli is best known for his diamond-patterned, traditionally shaped pots with lids.

QAQAMBILE

BEAD STUDIO

Fine art bead studio is run by 3 dynamic artisans and businesswomen; Nolubabalo Kanku, Neliswa Skiti and Mandisa Masina. Qaqambile has enjoyed a long relationship with Spier Arts Trust. Qaqambile has worked with professional artists to translate brushstrokes into panels of thousands of beads.

BAMBIZULU

Bambizulu, was created by Sinegugu Mchunu, granddaughter to Masterweaver Beauty Ngxongo, as a platform to represent the work of artists in the Hlabisa area to a wider public.

“Our intention is for the artist to better govern the price of their art  minimizing the number of intermediaries between the artist and the final buyer thereby ensuring more of the sale value flows directly to the artist.” The sustainability of Zulu basketry and African craft business and preservation of the traditional craft arts is a vital aspect that contributes to the global movement towards a greener environment.

KHANYI TSHUME

A strategist and marketer with over 10 years of experience. Although she started her career in the advertising industry, she has worked in a range of industries such as finance, communications, beauty and retail for global and local companies alike. Khanyi holds an MBA obtained in Bologna, Italy from the Bologna Business School where she mastered Design and Luxury Goods. 

UNATHI TWALA

Igama lam NdinguUnathi – a Communications Specialist and Founder of Ntinga Africa Media, a Pan-African PR Consultancy focused on the continuation of global storytelling on the African continent.

BEAUTY NGXONGO

Beauty Batimbele Ngxongo is a world-renowned artist and a custodian of the craft of Zulu Basketry.

“My baskets have gone beyond the point of craft and functionality and are creations of art. They are expressions and reflections of my personality. Trapped in each basket is a bit of my soul. Yet, woven in each basket is the tradition of my people the Zulu that stretches over many centuries. Each basket though stitched with a weave unique to me, nonetheless carries with it the method of basketry born of necessity and functionality that has served the Zulu’s needs well for hundreds of years. I find my creativity between the spaces of craft and art thereby blurring the two.” Beauty’s work is at The Met in New York and has also been shown at the Smithsonian museum.

NGWAKO MATLOHA

Industrial designer

(University of Johannesburg)

Mechatronics Engineer

(Tshwane University of Technology)

Founder of Digital Design Studio

ALÈRI ODENDAAL

Aléri Isbell is a ceramist and sculptor based in Cape Town.  When she is not working on her own projects, she collaborates with designers and homeowners to realise their individual concepts and ideas.

Before starting her own business Oden Design, she spent more than a decade sculpting and creating visual effects for the film industry.

DERRILY-LEE

HODGKINSON

An artist and crafter that specializes in handcrafted items including woven and beaded lights and divider screens.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts Technology (Entertainment Technology -specializing and decor and prop making) and a Nation Diploma in Textile design.

Derrily-Lee had been working with Thabisa since the launch of her brand in 2016 when the first Tutu light that was introduced onto the market.

She enjoys working with many different mediums and techniques and is passionate about problem solving to create individual pieces for clients to suit their personal taste. Her interests also include fine arts, various textiles, interior design and generally all things beautiful.

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At Mash.T we pride ourselves in our handmade goods. However, those hands need to take a break too. As such, production will resume on January 11th.

Orders will only be delivered in February 2022. Thank you kindly for your patience.

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