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Q&A with Glorinah Khutso Mabaso

We talk to the stylish and upcoming interior designer about resilience, hard work, discipline and allowing herself to continuously learn from others

By Luthando Vikilahle  | September 18, 2019 | Category

Meet Glorinah Khutso Mabaso, owner of LED Interiors and one of the 4 winners of the Nandos' Clout Designers’ Industry Days Fired Up competition.

The Nando's Clout Designers’ Industry Days Fired Up event took place on 9 and 10 August 2019 at 100% Design South Africa 2019, which ran alongside Decorex Joburg at the Gallagher Convention Centre from 7-11 August 2019.

To enter the competition South African designers were invited to pitch concepts and prototypes in the hope of having these new designs selected for inclusion in Nandos' online catalogue and purchasing platform - the Portal to Africa - and ultimately, commissioned for the interiors of Nando’s restaurants around the world.

House and Garden caught up with the stylish and upcoming interior designer who strongly believes in resilience, hard work, discipline and allowing herself to continuously learn from others. Take a look at the Q&A below.

Briefly tell us who is Glorinah Mabaso?

Glorinah is a God fearing, free-spirited woman.    I am an upcoming interior designer and an ambitious business-woman who strongly believes in resilience, hard work, discipline and allowing herself to continuously learn from others. I own a wallpaper range under Robinsprong Wallpapers and have collaborated with Kohler Africa at Design Joburg 2019 where I showcased a modern tribal aesthetic. I also run a digital printed fabrics that are available at Fabric Bank.

What are your future plans and aspirations?

As the owner of 'LED interiors by Glorinah' I would like to build the company into a multifaceted design company that will focus on the hospitality field. This would be done through the design of interiors, furniture, surfaces and products.  I would like to use what I refer to as a 'Modern Tribal luxury' to awaken the wealth of knowledge from various ancient tribes & cultures that has been buried on the continent.

I would love for the 'Modern Tribal luxury' aesthetic to be a visual language that can be recognised as Proudly African

and understood globally.

What impact do you see making in the world of design?

I would like to be one of the designers who will play a role in developing a globally respected Proudly South African aesthetic. This is why my philosophy is: Capture the history of African cultures in the present. Create visual archives that reflect a proudly African aesthetic. Create spaces and furniture pieces that speak an African language. I would also like to introduce our vision of modern tribal luxury and be the present voice for the ancient tribes.

What would you say inspires your designs?

I'm inspired by history - especially ancient tribes, various cultures and ancient sounds. I feel that there are many things we could learn from our past which is why I sometimes incorporate social issues into my designs.

I decided to translate my knowledge into 4 visual designs which included:  A 4 & 8-seater table inspired by the stripes visible on the vibrant Venda traditional cloth worn by women, a bold cabinet inspired by one of my patterns called Tribal melody. I was also inspired by the repetitive beating of a drum which evokes emotions & ignites movement. The design of the cabinet reflected my translation of how rhythm & positive vibrations would look if they could be visualised.

A screen inspired by the symbolic versatility of a circle in nature, spirituality, culturally, astronomically throughout the world.

An 8 seater table inspired by the layout of traditional homesteads and the various ways in which the exterior protective /barrier walls were decorated.

All these pieces highlight the uniqueness of the various cultures/tribes & also touch on spirituality, astronomy and the common thread that unifies people from all corners of the globe. It's through research and documentaries which I have watched that I have come to understand that we are all the same as much as we are different. Things that exist in African cultures can also exist elsewhere in the world.

I've always been intrigued by people who are different to me and I gravitate towards them, with the aim of gaining an understanding of them & expanding my knowledge.

How was the experience of entering the Nando's Clout designer SA competition?

I have been following the Nando's brand since my college days because of their uniquely designed vibrant interiors. When I saw the competition on Instagram, I knew that I had to feed my obsession, especially because my philosophy & design aesthetic aligned perfectly with Nando's brand.

After submitting my entry, I received an email a few days later that informed me that I would be part of the 26 shortlisted designers to present to a panel of judges at 100% Design SA. I was extremely humbled by the request and I prepared myself thoroughly to sell a Proudly South African aesthetic that would be reflected in each piece.

I'm extremely happy about the outcome especially after presenting to a panel that consisted of people that I've always looked up to. This was a huge validation that there are people who understand my creative language and that I should continue with my journey despite the challenges.

What have you benefited since you entered the competition?

By being involved with Clout S.A and Nando's, we will receive the best advice, mentoring and business development that can equip us with crucial skills that will assist us to become respectable designers.

I'm definitely looking forward to a new chapter that will be filled with creative growth and learning to understand the business of design, especially through interacting with well respected & experienced individuals who can guide me.

Do you have any advice to upcoming designers?

Your passion & self-belief will fuel your dream! Hard work is about consistently knocking on doors even when some are locked. Timing is everything! I can't stress this enough. Patience can make or break you so discipline is extremely important especially when you are still a small business. Always start somewhere no matter how small because that's a sign of courage.

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