Soweto Theatre, Editor Laureen Roussow's nomination for the Most Beautiful Object In South Africa 2013 award.

We’re big fans of the Soweto Theatre and our Editor Laureen Rossouw put in a vigorous punt for this extraordinary building, one of the top ten finalists in the ‘Most Beautiful Object in South Africa’ 2013 awards. The breakthrough architectural design has already been heaped with accolades from the design community, including a Silver for Environmental and 3-Dimensional Design at the prestigious Loerie Awards in 2012.

“I love the confident, bold, colourful architecture of this iconic theatre in SA’s most famous township and the immediate impact it has on its surroundings. It has three indoor venues and an undercover outside venue for productions. It is also built close to the railway station, taxi rank and Rea bus stop in Jabulani, which gives commuters a chance to interact with and enjoy this inspiring and aspirational landmark. A great example of urban regeneration and a symbol of progress for all South Africans.” – Laureen Rossouw

The Soweto Theatre, with three boxes and three stages, overlooks the vast suburb of Jabulani. Three bold colours – red, blue and yellow – celebrate contrasts and diversity as well as the immeasurable potential of the community.

Entrance to Soweto Theatre

In the final vote, the voting public declared The Pebble Dress by Gavin Rajah to be the overall winner, announced last Monday, 4 March 2013. Hats off to this iconic South African fashion designer for his award winning creativity.

The Pebble Dress by Gavin Rajah

Leather moulded pebbles on hand embroidered mesh with a reflective rose gold and chocolate glow, the enchanting Pebble Dress by Gavin Rajah was a well deserving winner of the coveted title. More than a dress, this objet d’art reflects the South African designer’s exuberance and ability to transform the ordinary. Contrasted materials and shapes explore depth and dimension, creating a sculptural quality and taking a noble dress to a level of grandeur.

Boundaries are blurred between fashion, art and design, and definitions are reinvented, in which an object that is essentially practical becomes an artwork.

MBOISA answers the question of what constitutes beauty in the current design world. The values intrinsically propelling South African design seem to be a juxtaposition of opulence and ease, an ecological luxury. “A wider definition of beauty is encouraged – encapsulating social significance, economic impact, usability, sustainability and even humour”.

In tune with the modern-romantic philosophy, The Pebble Dress captures drama and intensity while attaining an affinity with the natural by means of raw materials. See more work by Gavin Rajah here:

Besides the Pebble Dress and the Soweto Theatre, the other 8 finalists included:

Zanzan Umbrella By Gareth Cowden, Babatunde
Golden Fold Necklace By Katherine-Mary Pichulik
Mechanical Bureau By Joe Paine
Slice Cutting Board By Jonathan Fundudis, Snapp Design
Gustav Greffrath’s Interpretation of the 1975 Pipeline Gun By Spider Murphy for Dutchmann’s Delft Portfolio
Wood and Carbon Bike By David Stubbs
City Press Newspaper, 27 May 2012 edition Editor, Ferial Haffajee
Visibility Vest By Ronel Jordaan
Aretha Dress By Sindiso Khumalo

With an emphasis on tactility and an appreciation of handcrafted textiles, MBOISA applauds the little things seen in South African design with a look-out for fine detail and quality.

Soweto Theatre images courtesy of www.afritects.comthe architectural design firm responsible.

Other images sourced from

Posted by Zarah Cassim & Jenny Mason