Mpho Vackier sketching ideas in her studio. Image: Themba Mbuyisa

In celebration of Pongracz’s vibrant new bottle – the ultraviolet Noble Nectar – we sat down for a glass of bubbles with some of the country’s boldest local designers to talk about pushing their creative boundaries:

Engineer-turned-designer and Director of TheUrbanative, Mpho Vackier

Mpho Vackier at home. Image: Elsa Young

On TheUrbanative…
We design contemporary African furniture with a lot of classic modern influences so its relatable to our client at the end of the day. We’re constantly trying to tell the African stories of culture in colour, texture and craft, and we juxtapose that with modern aesthetics. Our first range, for example, had a lot of mid-centenary influences but it’s Ndebele inspired. It’s creating a connection between two seemingly unrelated things…

On her latest collection…
Our second collection is a love letter to African hair. It’s trying to identify with the beauty within African hair. We looked at textures and lines and forms of African hair, and what it means in traditional communities… I think that’s why it’s resonated so much with people; they connect with it, even if they don’t have African hair.

On African designers…
I love the fact that we’re able to write our own stories right now. We’re saying to the world, “Listen, we’re more than you think African design is”. We’re able explore things that truly inspire us. And I love that we get to do that, as emerging designers.

On bold design…
Bold design is authenticity. I love when you look at a piece and it has a soul. It’s authentic and isn’t trying to be anything other than what it is. And it comes across when you use natural materials, when you can just see the piece for what it is.

View more at theurbanative.com

Jeanne-Marie Agnello, National Sales Manager for Rialheim in South Africa

On the brand’s aesthetic…
The brand was started five years ago as Ceramic Factory. Then it changed its name to Rialheim – House of Rial. We’re a uniquely South African design company, molding African clay to make really unique items. We truly try to push the boundaries and be bold in our design choices – these are definitely conversation pieces. But we don’t just make art – we take artistic pieces, and make them functional. We hope they each tell a story that can be passed down through generations.

On the latest collection…
The latest collection is Evolution. It really captures how we’ve evolved as a business in the last five years, and ties into the idea of sustainability. It’s taking humanity, and linking it to nature and animals. The centre of the collection is the Evolution Man. He holds a lamp; that’s the baton we’re handing to future generations, and the light at the end of the tunnel!

On the 2018 Pantone colour of the year, Ultraviolet…
We didn’t literally interpret the colour of Pongrazc’s new bottle into our ideas – as in, we didn’t make an item specifically in that colour – but what we did do is look at what that colour trend means in 2018. It’s very bold, unique, and it looks toward the future. We interpreted those feelings into our new range, Evolution.

Visit: www.rialheim.com

Thuleka Duze, co-owner of ATG EKASI

On her brand…
We specialise in manufacturing handbags and active wear in African print. Our aesthetic is inspired by anything that catches our eye. It could be anything, from a soccer or rugby ball to an envelope! And then we interpret that into a handbag…

On the 2018 Pantone colour of the year, Ultraviolet…
You couldn’t have chosen a better person to ask that question. It’s even in my hair! It’s a colour that will get people out of their comfort zone, it will get them out there and force them to stop being shy. It brings out you!

On being bold…
Bold means confidence. It means knowing what you want and going for it – that’s what it means to be bold.

On pushing boundaries…
I keep pushing boundaries by knowing that no one piece that we create will be the same as the next. And if you go next door, you won’t find the same thing either. We keep pushing pushing boundaries in our designs by remaining once-off…

See more at antgekasi.co.za

Enjoy more bold moments with a bottle of Pongracz Noble Nectar: