Image by Copperleaf Studio
With nearly a decade of experience and a glut of African projects under his belt, Joburg based Nelson Kubheka, of Ommni Design, creates upscale interiors and spatial solutions for residential, commercial and hospitality clients. At last year’s show he caused a stir with his sophisticated, mineral rich bathroom for Kohler, which saw a fresh take on African inspired glamour with lashings of black and brass. His bathroom’s graphic Bogolan wallpaper was such a hit, it’s now available to order. This year he is partnering with House & Garden magazine to present a considered living room feature.
We chat to Nelson Kubheka about his CoLab feature at the show.
1. What would you say you are known for?
Apart from being a creative, I’m also known to be an open-minded and very inquisitive person.
2. Describe your CoLab feature in one sentence?
An interior representation of discovering the new that comes with every journey and place.
3. Why this concept?
I wanted to capture the idea of the world becoming smaller and more fluid especially in how people relate and connect with one another. It’s a narrative about taking parts of our journey home with us to inspire others and remind people of the magic of self-discovery through travel.
4. Can you further elaborate in terms of what you plan to create?
I plan to create a combination of a living area and work-from-home space. This will carry a somewhat eclectic yet contemporary approach through the choice of furniture and bespoke joinery details. I am collaborating with some amazing suppliers including The Urbanative, Wunders, T&R Design, Coote & Wench and Home Fabrics.
5. Can you single out one feature or aspect of your CoLab room set that you think will make heads turn?
It’s difficult to isolate just one single item but I would say the desk in the work space and the bookshelf will both be eye-catching.
6. How does what you are creating fit in with the current design zeitgeist?
I believe my design doesn’t conform to a single particular style but reflects a mixture of African contemporary, with some classical, influence. I think what is more relevant to current trends will be revealed through my use of natural materials, bold color and geometric forms.
7. What would you say are your top 3 must-visit features at this year’s show?
I really can’t wait to see what all my fellow designers will be presenting within their CoLab room sets… there’s a bit of a competitive atmosphere stirring! The Kohler Theatre will also have some exciting takeaways from the lineup of local, continental and global speakers. I am also expecting some reenergized product from both the SPA ZAR and SA Furniture Collective features courtesy of some of the country’s top talent.
8. What would your dream project be?
A mixed-use development consisting of hotel, work spaces and apartments located anywhere in Africa.
9. What are you hoping to achieve by participating in Design Joburg, featuring Rooms on View?
Apart from the exposure, I’m hoping to get the global market to recognize the creative talent we have on the African continent.
10. What or who inspires your signature style?
World renowned architect David Adjaye. I am inspired by his design processes that speak more to the context rather than a specific style.
11. Any personal expectations of the show?
Design Joburg has and continues to feature some of the best of what Africa has to offer, I’d like to see visitors engage with the designers to get a proper understanding of their thought process and concepts.