Vukile Batyi Solve trophy
Concept & Design - Vukile Batyi | Manufacturing - Mann Designs | Photography - Roger Jardine

Our job is to seek out the best. That’s why we asked the exciting young gentleman, Vukile Batyi, to design our Solve 2015 trophy. Although we have literally only just completed the first round of judging, we are too excited about the design and simply HAVE to show you!

We chatted to this inventive, enthusiastic and hard-working chap to find out what makes him tick.  

Who is Vukile Batryi? I’m a former Eastern Cape dweller who is currently a wanna-be Durbanite. Right after I graduated from NMMU I was called in by Richard Hart from Disturbance Design to do an interview. A few months later I was employed by the studio. Although I had a nine-to-five I always did personal work after hours, just to try and expand my skills. A lot of people noticed me when I took part at Design Indaba last year under the Emerging Creatives programme. I’ve been doing a lot of collaborations since then and many projects to be revealed soon.

Where did you get the idea for this design? When I design, and mostly when I’m dealing with typography, I always write the brand’s name as many times as possible, exploring the relationship between letters and also looking for a simple yet effective ways of communicating the idea. I knew I wanted the trophy to be different in structure; I wanted it to be motivational. It had to do all the all the talking without any brag from the owner.

To me, style is always secondary to what I want to achieve creatively. The idea influences the style I choose.

What was the most exciting/rewarding part of the process? Seeing the final trophy and holding it in my hands… I must say it hurt a little when I had to send it away. I hope whoever wins one of the three trophies appreciates them as I do because now you own a part of me.

The worst? I think the worst part, with all my work in general, is the fact that I go to the extremes just to see my creation coming to life. Many obstacles, late nights, trial and error and breakdowns along the way but I keep going.

Tell us about your new range? All I can say for now is that the influences of Durban are starting to show on my work, the first collection was mostly inspired by my Xhosa culture, and for the next one expect some Zulu vibes in it.

For my next range, expect some Zulu vibes.

What materials are you exploring at the moment? I’ve been experimenting with wooden beads. One of the products I exhibited earlier this year with Imbadu Collective was a wooden clock with beaded interior and ceramic peace, for a collaboration with Andile Dyalvane and Fayaaz Mahomed.

What is the best thing about being a designer in SA? Honestly I haven’t experienced it yet, I have mixed feelings about our design community. There are still wonderful opportunities like this collaboration with Elle DECO and Adams & Adams. And I applaud you guys for believing in us young creatives because there aren’t that many opportunities like this for us up-and-coming designers.

I believe we have so much to offer and we are capable of achieving it.

What are your thoughts on South African Design? I would like to see more innovation coming through, please don’t just throw in patterns ‘just because’. Learn a bit more about who you are referencing.

Vukile Batyi
For the 2014 Design Indaba Expo, Vukile Batyi collaborated with his mentor Laduma Ngxokolo to create cases emblazoned with traditional Xhosa-inspired patterns from Ngxokolo’s latest knitwear collection.

How would you describe your design style? I don’t think I have a definite style. As an aspiring multi-disciplinary designer and artist, I believe I should explore as much as I can to expand my knowledge and not having a definite style allows me to adjust easily. To me style is always secondary to what I want to achieve creatively, the idea influences the style I chose.

What is your design ethos? I always try for innovation; whatever I do, I want people to see that I have at least made an effort.

Who has influenced your style the most? Those who are close to me always influence me stylistically and personally. Both Laduma Ngxokolo  (fashion icon) and Majolandile ‘Andile’ Dyalvane (ceramic master) are like brothers to me, I respect their craft so much and I’ve been lucky enough to work with both of them.

For more, email Vukile or follow Vukile on Twitter @VukileBatyi.


Concept & DesignVukile Batyi

ManufacturingMann Designs

PhotographyRoger Jardine