Mentorship programme: Siyanda Mbele and Greg & Roche Dry

We caught up with furniture designer and Emerging Creative Siyanda Mbele to find out what he thought about this year's mentorship programme.

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Emerging Creative: Siyanda Mbele
Emerging Creative: Siyanda Mbele

The 2014 Emerging Creatives programme saw a collaboration between some of South Africa’s hottest designers and young up-and-coming creatives. The mentorship programme ran for approximately six weeks, where professional designers and industry leaders helped a number of creatives to develop the quality of their work through constructive advice and feedback.

One of the participants was Siyanda Mbele. We caught up with him to find out what he thought about the programme and being mentored by Greg and Roche Dry of renowned local interior design firm Egg Designs

What did the mentorship programme mean for your career?

I have always wanted to exhibit and distribute my work locally and internationally. Being mentored by designers who have achieved that means I will be more prepared at Design Indaba Expo 2014.

What was the experience like and what did you learn?

The mentorship programme was a truly great experience, as I believe Egg Design and myself share design sensibilities. I learned to keep my work simple because sometimes a complex design requires a series of manufacturing techniques, that can be costly. I believe quality and having a story behind my furniture pieces is very important.

What advice did your mentors give you?

Initially I had planned to exhibit a different collection but while paging through my sketchbook my mentor saw one of my Ndebele sketches and fell in love with it. This was great as it’s one of my favourite freehand designs this far. Also with the initial collection I wanted to showcase, there wasn't any cohesion; each piece had its own concept so my mentors advised me to develop a concept that I could apply throughout an entire collection. I was advised to have a maximum of three pieces and to ensure that they were all beautifully manufactured, instead of having five mediocre pieces. “Siyanda, don’t make this look like a student project,” was the advice they gave me!

What will you be exhibiting at Design Indaba Expo 2014?

I will be showcasing a furniture collection inspired by Ndebele and Zulu motifs. Expect geometric shapes, bold colours, striking patterns and texture. 

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