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NISH is a Cape Town-based design studio Creating Minimalist Pieces

Sustainability, minimal and practical designs are the key focus at NISH

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By Alyxandra Carolus | October 2, 2023 | Design

From the cylindrical floor-standing candle holders to sleek yet textured coffee tables, form meets sustainable function at Cape Town-based design studio NISH. Founded by creative director and designer Tanisha Neill, she aims to bring an interdisciplinary approach to textile and furniture design. A project that started during the pandemic lockdown, Neill has since expanded from sustainable fashion to the realms of furniture and homeware design.

H&G: NISH is an ever-evolving creative project that has since branched into furniture design ‒ can you share how you got your start?

TN: I returned home from a transformative year in Madrid, where I had completed my Masters in Product Design and Design Innovation. During lockdown, I taught myself how to sew and embarked on various furniture and fashion projects as a creative outlet.

While fashion happened serendipitously, furniutre has always been a dream of mine. Through NISH, I have been able to experiment and learn, and am still in the process of finding my own ‘niche’.

The DEV floor-standing candleholder’s cylindrical design contrasts with the angular lines of the GIGI barstool, by NISH. Images: Luke Houba, Franco Kellerman.

Considered consumption is one of NISH’s core principles ‒ can you expand on how that is interwoven into your brand, overall?

Considered consumption is an ethos that aims to consider the longevity, durability, and suitability of the things we choose to bring into our lives. It emphasizes the importance of selecting items that can stand the test of time and sePamlessly integrate into one’s lifestyle.

I prioritise quality craftsmanship, selecting materials that are durable and resilient. By investing in well-made products, I aim to counteract the throwaway culture that often leads to a cycle of constant consumption and disposal. Additionally, I strive to create more multifunctional pieces that can serve various purposes and adapt to different settings or needs. This approach encourages users to maximize the potential of the products, thereby avoiding the need for excessive consumption.

Minimal and functional design is one of the pillars of NISH furniture items. Can you take us behind the thought process of your pieces ‒ from concept to finished product?

I don’t impose strict guidelines on myself during the design phase, and often visualise a complete design in my mind before even putting pen to paper in my sketchbook. As I move from the sketchbook to working with manufacturers, I love learning from their expertise and understanding of the capabilities of different materials. These interactions become integral steps in the journey from concept to finished product. This problem-solving approach ensures that the final design is not only visually appealing, but also functional and feasible for production.

The NEAVE coffee table by NISH showcases an interplay of bold straight lines with intricate veins of colour lending depth to its functional frame. Images: Luke Houba, Franco Kellerman.

What’s on the horizon for NISH and are there any upcoming collections to look out for?

I recently launched the newest accessory, the DEV candle, at Decorex Cape Town. It’s a unique and minimal candle design with an insert holder piece that can be used with the JD candle holders, or displayed independently on any countertop. Looking forward, one of my aspirations is to establish a showroom space in Cape Town. It would be incredible for NISH to have a dedicated space where customers and collectors can experience my work firsthand.