Product spotlight: Nkwana Unit Modules by Homewood

Inspired by the trend of upcycling pallets, Homewood's "downcycled" their modular plasma unit, while maintaining the quality.

Remember the days when every lounge had the trusty “wall unit” with a big gaping hole for the ol’ CRT television?

Then one day large flat-screen televisions made their appearance and took centre stage, necessitating a rethink of the not-so-customisable wall unit. And along came variations of a different unit to house the new-form box.

Furniture designers Homewood, who are based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, have found that the piece they had dubbed the “plasma unit” was the most frequently requested to be modified to serve various tech needs. 

In these requests they identified a need for customisation of this ubiquitous piece, relating to rapidly evolving technology and its place in our homes.

Their solution came to life as the Nkwana Plasma Unit Modular Range, named after their late factory foreman Mfana “Power” Nkwana.

Before his untimely death in 2012 Nkwana had been working of a range of designs inspired by recycled pallets. “Taking a cue from the trend to upcycle old wooden pallets and crates, we followed the idea to perhaps downcycle furniture, still using our quality hardwoods to create a contemporary range of pieces with this popular look,” says Dave Macdonald of Homewood.

“The answer to the dilemma of what to do about the plasma unit was right there before us,” says Macdonald, as is often the case with simple, effective solutions.

“Modularise it, so customers can configure their own combinations of spaces, drawers and shelves, and height to meet their needs!”

Adjustable in both height and width, the shelves, cabinets and drawers of the unit can be mixed and matched in countless ways to suit individual needs.

All the user needs to do is assemble the components, this can be done is a clean linear single wood combination, or it can be jazzed up by combining an irregularly arranged mix of woods and colour finishes.

The best part is that if you change your mind or your taste tomorrow, it’s quick, easy and simple to change the unit accordingly. 

More on Product Design