The Free Range for Design Indaba

By promoting affordable design, Free Range is set to open a world of design to a market not normally catered for by professional designers.

Spawned by a passion to create quality design at affordable costs, the Free Range is set to open a world of design to a market not normally catered for by professional designers.

“Over the past few years, the word ‘design’ has hit international news headlines more and more. Now we’re starting to see the trickledown effect, where design is no longer only a creative industry patronised by the elite, but also demanded by the everyman. The Free Range is a response to this growing consumer market for accessible creative produce,” said Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Indaba.

Free Range consists of functional homeware items that range in materials from plastics to felt. Pitched at offering affordable South African design homeware to anyone and everyone, the range hopes to bring a touch of creativity into every South African’s home.

Further benefiting local production lines and economic promise, the products are the result of Design Indaba collaborations with top local designers. Heath Nash, Themba Mngomezulu from Darkie clothing, Marisa Fick-Jordaan from Zenzulu, Ronel Jordaan, Clementina van der Walt and Pepperplum Designs are just some of the participants who were asked to adhere to the strict guideline that products would not retail for more than R200.

Fighting the temptation to limit themselves to mediocrity, the designers made way for late nights, many coffee breaks and strenuous brainstorming to think “out of the box”. Expression and functionality were key concerns.

“What has emerged is a range of quirky, fun homeware products created for the people. From telephone wire coat hangers to lights made from recycled plastic bottles, the diversity of the collection illustrates that designer products can be produced to access broader markets,” concludes Abigail Florence, curator of the Free Range.

See the Free Range at the Design Indaba Expo from 27 February to 1 March at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Watch the Talk with Heath Nash