Nelson Kubheka
As the founder of Ommni Design, Nelson Kubheka is a young South African interior designer to watch.

With a contemporary design aesthetic that’s naturally informed by his African culture, Nelson Kubheka lives by the belief that growth only occurs in a state of discomfort.

‘I try not to follow decor trends, but less is more is always best,’ says Nelson Kubheka, the founder of Ommni Design who enjoys combining wood, stone and brass with sophisticated black touches. ‘My design aesthetic is one that seeks to juxtapose different materials and layers to create a simple yet effective space.’

While growing up in Bronkhorstspruit near Pretoria, Nelson Kubheka was led to the world of design through his love of art, studying the subject in high school and doing sketches in all of his school books. ‘I remember reading a book about different design careers and coming across interior design, which, back then, seemed like a new career to me. What caught my attention about it was how a space could be transformed through imagination and concepts, and I was fascinated by the idea of an area influenced by aesthetics and functionality for people’s use,’ he says.

After matriculating, Nelson Kubheka moved to Cape Town to pursue a qualification in Interior Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, before starting his carere at Source IBA as a junior designer, working his way up to become an associate and partner for the Johannesburg office. ‘My journey at Source IBA exposed me to very creative individuals and life-changing opportunities in designing hotels and offices across Africa,’ he says.

Nelson Kubheka
The stand Nelson Kubheka designed for KOHLER at Design Joburg 2018.

The next step was starting Omni Design in 2016, which has proven to be a great success, with Kubheka receiving a great amount of industry exposure through platforms like Design Joburg. ‘Starting my own company was certainly not easy, but I believe Ommni Design was the next challenge that God had prepared for me,’ Nelson Kubheka says. ‘I see it as a creative seed that was gradually growing and waiting for its season to become a business.’

Want to discover more inspiring African creatives? Read about fashion designer Thebe Magugu, architect Hermann Kamte and artist Lizette Chirrime.