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Profile: Taking up space with Mpendulo Dlamini

An outstanding Black creative owning and exploring his identity through design work

By Shannon Manuel  | January 30, 2021 | Category

Photograph: SupplIed
Photograph: SupplIed

An outstanding Black creative owning and exploring his identity through design work.

Before his career in architecture that now spans a decade, it was the residential niche that captured Mpendulo’s attention as a final-year university student. A phone call from a Gauteng-based medical doctor to design his new home at Eboste Estate changed his life’s trajectory. and upon the completion of the project, the good doctor’s friends, stokvel members and relatives were all lining up to make use of his services. ‘I had about 20 projects lined up at the time, which was enough to launch my small studio in Rosebank.’

With each new project, he dedicates more time to the client in order to understand them better, learning about their values and the significance of his contribution to their lives. ‘We brainstorm ideas around their lifestyles, family dynamics and sociability so that my interpretation of their vision is translated onto paper. This process requires empathy and time.’

The young creative approaches architecture as a time capsule, and over the past 10 years, has learnt that each home he builds is a statement that represents a moment in time. ‘Through each structure, future generations can be able to hear us, feel us and see us.’

Image: Supplied

His favourite project? Mpendulo says it is hard to say, as all of his work opens up new challenges to him. one career-defining project was the first mega-township community he designed for 4 000 residents, which he presented to all stakeholders, including mayors.’

Another project I’m proud of is a Dolphin coast home. The building is designed around the client’s personality of being private to the public but open to the loved ones.’ he is currently working on what a calls a dream project of a friendship spanning15 years: a‘ friend saw my concepts and said, “one day you’ll build my house.” Fast forward to 2020, he kept his word. his brief was simple: “Please shock me.”’ They are breaking ground to 2 000 square- metre luxury home in Steyn city.

See more of Mpendulo Dlamini on his Instagram account: @mpex.za