Atang Tshikare X Ballo Collaboration | Elle Decoration SA

Atang Tshikare is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most sought-after talents. Specialising in urban-style surface design, this gentleman is the ultimate hot property collaborator, having worked with people in textile and footwear design, furniture, ceramics, bicycles, wallpaper and eyewear. He is basically a new buzzword. 

DECO caught up with Atang to find out more about his collaboration with Alistair Barnes of Ballo Sunglasses.

Atang Tshikare | Elle Decoration SA
Atang Tshikare X Ballo Collaboration | Elle Decoration SA

How did the COLAB come about?
I met Alistair through Kent of Alpha Longboards who I’d worked with on longboards and an exhibition in Germany. They work in studios next to each other so when I saw the sunglasses and realised that Alistair was around the corner, it wasn’t hard to see more and talk to him about working together. I had some designs in my drawing book but I wasn’t sure where I could use them. Alistair told me about the Artist Eyewood Project #AEP and asked if I would be interested in collaborating on a limited edition of 50 pairs per design. I took a while to get the ball rolling because of my workload, but when I sent him the designs everything took shape superbly and the first prototypes were completed in August.

Alistair, where does the name Ballo come from?
The name ‘Ballo’ is a combination of my family name, Barnes, and my mother’s maiden name, Gallo, and by pure coincidence happens to mean ‘dance’ in Italian.

What is the inspiration and idea behind Ballo?
Alistair: We set out to make the best wooden-framed glasses in the world right here in South Africa. I think we are doing a pretty good job! Ballo frames and cases are made with love in Woodstock, Cape Town. Our frames are hand-made from recycled paper and off-cut timber from local furniture producers. All frames come with high-quality polarized lenses and can be fitted with your prescription. We currently export to five countries and counting.

When did you launch your designs?
Atang: The limited-edition customs were launched in September in Soweto at Thesis. I met Wireless G and Wandile at a club through a mutual friend – when I showed Wandile a picture of the sunglasses, he immediately put in an order. It was fantastic to see such a positive reaction and we launched three weeks later.

What excites you about design? And design in Africa specifically?
Atang: Design in Africa is at the forefront with raw, fresh and unorthodox skills. The culture and traditions of Africans allow them to have an extra element of authenticity in their works. When you explore what you love using methods that are traditional to you, then the results are more advanced that what any learned person can produce. This is what excites me about African design, especially when we export it.

What’s your favourite space in your home?
Atang: My favourite space in the room is the kitchen because I enjoy cooking. It’s a great way of challenging my creativity with different elements – with a glass of wine in hand!

What are you currently working on?
Atang: I’m currently working on some paintings for my first solo exhibition at Worldart Gallery in December. I’m also working on some design products exclusively for the Stable store in Loop Street (and maybe a Joburg store) due out this November. I’ve also got group shows I’m sending work to in three international countries. That’s all I can mention for now, more info and news will be on my Facebook as the weeks go on.

Atang Tshikare X Ballo Collaboration | Elle Decoration SA

Atang Tshikare X Ballo Collaboration | Elle Decoration SA

Atang Tshikare |@AtangTshikare |

Ballo | @BalloCT