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Designer Thabisa Mjo Showstopping Tutu Light Inspired by the Tsonga Skirt

Mash T Design Studio Beaded Tutu Pendant light designed by South African designer Thabisa Mjo

I love how culture inspires modern design, enabling traditional designs and objects to take on new roles within a society so that they are not forgotten. And it was for this reason that I was drawn to the show-stopping TUTU 2.0 light by South African interior designer, Thabisa Mjo who is the owner and Creative Director of Mash T. Design Studio in Johannesburg.

TUTU 2.0 is Mjo’s award-winning design that saw her crowned one of two winners for Nando’s Hot Young Designer in 2016. The design comprised of a double layer skirt-like structure is inspired by two of Mjo’s favourite things, tutus and her partner, who is Tsonga. As she explains “While learning about his culture I came across the Xibelani skirt, which Tsonga women wear to celebrate their culture. The skirt reminded me of a tutu. If Africans had designed tutus they’d look like Xibelani, hence the name Tutu 2.0.”

TUTU 2.0 is locally handcrafted and woven by women and men artisans in Johannesburg, and features a hand bent frame that is then handwoven with thread to achieve the distinctive pattern. The collection for Nandos is limited edition, with only 100 of the designs produced.

The Xibelani skirt, worn by Tsonga women to celebrate their culture

As a winner of the Nandos Hot Young Designer award, which was set up by the international casual dining restaurant chain to celebrate South African design and strengthen the company’s ties to its South African roots, the TUTU 2.0 is featured in Nando’s restaurants across the globe.

– Tapiwa Matsinde

[Image credits. The images shown belong to Nandos; House and Leisure. If downloaded and used elsewhere, please credit accordingly.]

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