When we first saw the geometric symmetry of the latest shelving from Unfayzdesign we thought it was the bee’s knees. Perfectly timed with our big honey feature in the current #Ideas101 issue, DECO just had to find out more.
The intricate woven structure of the Slotd™ Honeycomb Display Unit makes it not only super practical for storage, but its light, linear pattern filled with space is easy on the eye once it’s on the wall. Ideal as a kitchen storage unit for all those small pots and jars gathering dust at the back of your larder, we also imagined the honeycomb in our home office, holding an array of pen pots, Post-It stacks and small potted succulents.
We caught up with the talented creative behind Unfayzdesign, Fayaaz Mahomed, who told us more about the design process behind this unique wall-mounted storage space and how it came to be on show at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. DECO also took the opportunity to grill Fayaaz on sustainability, his creative aesthetic and his experience in the South African design world.
Tell us a little bit about Unfayzdesign…
Launched last year at Design Indaba, Unfayzdesign is a product design brand. We focus on the design and manufacture of bespoke furniture and lighting, as well as other home and decor products.
We were part of the Emerging Creatives Programme from which we’ve steadily grown through the opportunities that came from the exposure we received. Its been a pretty successful and eventful year with the highlight (apart from being an Indaba exhibitor) being a finalist in the PPC Imaginarium Awards where we entered our concrete floor lamp.
Where did the inspiration come from for the honeycomb unit & how did you tackle the project?
The Slotd™ Honeycomb Display Unit was actually commissioned by TnT Honey for their new retail space in the V&A Waterfront Market on the Wharf where it is currently hanging. The inspiration came from their product and it made it a bit easier that they had an idea of what they wanted.
Initially the idea was to create a honeycomb feature piece but because their retail space is fairly small, I suggested we maximise the space and do a display unit instead. I kept the design simple, minimalist and modular, which is my design ethos. It also gave TnT the option of playing around with their display to suit their style.
I kept the design simple, minimalist and modular, which is my design ethos.
Where do you envisage the unit being used and what for?
In both a retail and home environment. It’s such a simple yet elegant design that lends itself to being able to hold many different types of things, from honey to pot plants and little figurines. There really is no end to its uses and it can fit right into any environment.
You work a lot with wood – how do you tackle sustainability?
Wood is currently my main material because of the processes I use to make my furniture. Sustainability and green design plays a very important part in all my products and starts from the concept stage all the way through to final production.
I prefer plywood and composite/particle board over hardwood as they are made from the waste or off-cuts from cut lumber. All my products are CNC-machined to maximise material usage as I dislike waste. I re-purpose all my off-cuts into other products such as clocks and cutting boards etc. All my products are sealed with either natural oils or a low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) varnish which helps to lower the impact to the environment.
I dislike waste… sustainability and green design plays a very important part in all my products and starts from the concept stage all the way through to final production.
What do you LOVE about designing in South Africa and what’s the biggest challenge?
South Africa is a hugely diverse country with lots of vibrant cultures & environments. This is what gives me inspiration – it’s the things that I come across in day-to-day living. I also love how South Africans are so receptive to good design and the way design is slowly filtering into every part of the country. Design in SA is definitely fast becoming a way of thinking and a way of life.
The biggest challenge for me personally is that I feel there’s not enough exposure for emerging designers and crafters. It’s easy to design and make things, the hard part is selling them or getting them into the market. There’s some really amazing talent to be found on street corners but not a lot of these crafters know about outlets that can help them further their businesses.
Design in SA is definitely fast becoming a way of thinking and a way of life.
Who would be your dream customer?
Shoo, this has got to be the most difficult question! I guess my dream customer would be the one who gives me carte blanche to create something truly amazing. Obviously I would still have certain limitations in terms of furniture but that is understandable!
Where do you do most of your designing – what’s your studio like?
To be honest I do most of my designing in my head! In all seriousness, I tend to get new product ideas whenever I am nowhere near pen and paper, so as a result I’ve resorted to downloading an app on my phone and sketching on there.
I have an Industrial Design Qualification so I’m proficient in 3D modelling, which is how I refine my concept sketches. This is all done in the comfort of my lounge or bedroom. Production (sanding and varnishing etc.) is all done in my garage.
I tend to get new product ideas whenever I’m nowhere near pen and paper, so I’ve resorted to downloading an app on my phone and sketching on there.
Our current issue is #Ideas101 – what’s the best (design) idea you’ve ever had?
Actually, I think this is the hardest question! I think the best idea I’ve had to date has also been the one that gave me the most grief. That would be my Oolite Floor Lamp that I designed and made for the PPC Imaginarium Awards. It is a concrete lamp mounted on a stainless steel base. Light comes from 6000k white LED’s that illuminates the surrounding space.
And finally, what do you love most about Elle DECO?
The fact that they are always on point with their content. Your website provides a wealth of information of what is happening all over the world and covers almost all my interests in terms of design.
Images courtesy of Fayaaz Mahomed. To see more Unfayzdesign products, visit unfayzdesign.co.za.