Theme: South African Essence

From competitions to find emerging designers, and platforms that share stories about local creatives, to business-development programmes and a buying portal filled with South African products, Nando’s has, over the past five years, made so many great strides in the design industry that it would be hard to single out just one of its recent initiatives. This is a truly South African brand that serves more than food – it delivers heartfelt purpose. Under the curation of Creative Director Tracy Lynch, and the business direction of Nando’s Property and Development Director Michael Spinks, the restaurant chain has aided established design studios in growing their networks, while also helping launch the careers of aspiring creatives in its mission to showcase South African design to the world and create opportunities for young designers. Nando’s is known for its bold, colourful interiors filled with furniture, wall surfaces, lighting and crockery produced by our country’s designers, and has become the biggest exporter of local design. But, says Spinks, this vision goes beyond furnishing interiors with tables and chairs. “It’s about creating meaningful and sustainable change in a sector that will help grow the economy and create opportunities for young South Africans,” he says. Such opportunities include the Portal to Africa website launched in 2018 that displays the work of 52 local designers available to Nando’s international outlets, making the ordering process from interior decorators in various countries seamless while resulting in a revenue stream for these 52 designers (Nando’s takes no commission and over 7,000 pieces have already been sold around the world). “We want to inspire other businesses to engage like this,” says Lynch about actively supporting the South African design industry and being a catalyst in its growth. “A lot of businesses have the potential to bring shifts and change in their supplier worlds.” She says bold expression and colour, unexpected organic shapes, and an interesting use of technology combined with hand-crafted elements draws people to South African design, adding that the narratives behind the pieces and the stories of their designers and makers “bring a whole different universe to life”. These stories, interviews and essays can be read on Nando’s Clout platform, an annual magazine and 160-page compendium, as well as on its just-launched website that now makes these stories accessible to a global audience. “It’s always been part of the Nando’s DNA to support South African creatives,” says Spinks. Through competitions such as Hot Young Designers and Clout Industry Days, the company is often the first to spot rising talent. Its winning designers are not only awarded the chance to produce and sell their products, but are nurtured through mentorship and business programmes that help get their businesses off to the right start. “Our commitment is to create opportunities for young designers to earn revenue from their creativity,” says Lynch. Nando’s, through its very active design programme, is demonstrating just that, and so much more. 

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.