The Definition of authentic design

Condé Nast House & Garden met up with Moooi’s, Robin Bevers, and Chris Weylandt of Weylandts stores, to learn more about their collaboration. They shared some pertinent design lessons, product integrity, and how affordability is only just a perception.

 

Moooi is proud to collaborate with Weylandts, one of South Africa’s leading premier furniture and homeware retailers. ‘Together we will present Moooi’s extraordinary designs for a well-curated life,’ says Moooi CEO, Robin Bevers.

 

‘Entering a retail environment should always be exciting for the customer. Moooi certainly knows how to grab our attention,’ says Weylandts CEO, Chris Weylandt.

 

 

On the timing of this collaboration

CW: Mooi products were previously available at Crema, and now they are exclusively available at Weylandt stores.  There was a discussion a year ago but this was not really planned, it just happened organically. Moooi is a natural fit with our brand and ethos. Weylandts is well-positioned in the marketplace and the timing is just perfect.

RB: Moooi is growing rapidly and we wanted to make a new commitment to South Africa and to team up with a player that can help us be more accessible to the people in the South African market. It’s a great way to interact with our consumers.

Design Lessons 

RB: 

  • Design is love
  • Design is the unexpected welcome
  • Good design touches the head and the heart
  • Stop the boring business
  • We are here to create an environment of love, live with passion and make our most exciting dreams come true
  • Make your life extraordinary

 

Design is not a distinctive label

RB: Some companies manage their own portfolios and brief their designers on what to produce. We are not that company. Moooi is a company that says to the designers, gives us your dreams, and if we can, we’ll see how we can fulfill your dream. We don’t tell you what to dream. We listen to you. We look at your sketchbook and if it resonates and there is a good connection, we run with it.

Design is not a distinctive label anymore. Many companies put that label in their description but design is something you can’t do without. Everything is designed. There is good design and bad design. In our case, we are about authentic design. We are about the story behind the product. From our perspective – design is a condition that you have to have. It’s important that things are well-designed but even more important, is the connection that people have with our products.

 

 

Integrity and expression

CW: Don’t design just for the sake of having something new out there, but to improve on what you’ve created. It should be something better. There has got to be value to it. A lot of companies are always asking – what’s new, what’s out there – it’s all about quantity and not about quality. It’s got to be true design, it has to be innovative, have value and longevity.

Weylandts Director, Kim Smith, weighed in on the discussion: ‘It’s imperative to have something to say. To have a story to tell. You are expressing yourself when you design something. If you’re just chasing sales and it’s an empty thing, then it won’t have legs. It won’t resonate with people. It’s all about integrity, of the product and integrity of motive.’

 

Timeless, not trendy

RB: For Moooi, it’s all about sustainability. For us, it’s about making things that you love so much, that you never want to throw it away. We think there are too many things that are just out there – too many people buy disposable stuff, they use and then throw it away. It becomes a cycle of purchasing something cheap, just for that moment and when it’s worn-out, it gets thrown away. We just want to make things you love so much, that is also not subject to trends or to becoming dated, that you will keep forever.

 

On millennials who find these products too expensive

RB: Buy one piece you love and make sure that it brightens your day, every single day.

I also don’t think millennials think in criteria like affordable or not affordable. If something is out of their price range and they have no interest in it – they won’t bother themselves or think about it. If they really value something, then everything becomes affordable. It’s all about priorities.

CW: Affordability is a perception. There are a lot of pieces that so-called millennials can afford. A space like Weylandts is more than just a furniture store. It’s a place to get inspired and be exposed to beautiful, well-designed products. Having Moooi in our retail space is exposing the consumer to high-design. Whereas before, it was so exclusive, just for the select few who really understood design. It’s exciting to be involved in making such products accessible.

 

 

 

Product images: Supplied

Feature Image: Marike Meyer