Life­style pro­file – Mpho Vack­ier

Pre­to­ria-based trend­set­ter MPHO VACK­IER, 35, left an en­gi­neer­ing job to pur­sue her pas­sion for in­te­rior and fur­ni­ture de­sign.

True Love - - Contents - By AYANDA NKONYANA

The Ur­ba­na­tive is a fur­ni­ture de­sign com­pany which takes as its in­spi­ra­tion pat­terns with eth­nic and global de­sign mo­tifs. Owner Mpho Vack­ier’s in­ten­tion be­hind ev­ery piece of fur­ni­ture she de­signs is to pro­duce a con­tem­po­rary, func­tional item for the modern-day ur­ban­ite. “I’m driven by the de­sire to cre­ate so­phis­ti­cated, au­then­tic and func­tional fur­ni­ture,” she says.

“I love to think of my work as a cel­e­bra­tion of global cul­ture and modern clas­si­cal de­sign, re­sult­ing in pieces that have a story and are re­lat­able to the modern cus­tomer.”

She be­lieves that her work is not just about sell­ing fur­ni­ture, but also about cre­at­ing con­cepts to en­hance our liv­ing spa­ces and give them her sig­na­ture style of com­fort and class. “I love de­signs that take you on a jour­ney of ex­plo­ration,” Mpho ex­plains.

Her com­pany of­fers a range of in­te­rior and fur­ni­ture so­lu­tions to suit any cus­tomer’s style and bud­get. Mpho says her pas­sion de­vel­oped dur­ing the time she was working as an en­gi­neer. “The tech­ni­cal as­pect of in­te­rior and fur­ni­ture de­sign – in terms of the ma­te­ri­als used and the tech­niques re­quired to pro­duce such de­signs – ap­pealed to me. Be­ing able to solve prob­lems and have a client live with my de­signs is one of my favourite things.

“I’m also in­spired by graph­ics that tell of peo­ple’s eth­nic­ity and cul­ture, as well as by clas­si­cal mid-cen­tury fur­ni­ture sil­hou­ettes. I love the vis­ual ten­sion created by con­trast­ing el­e­ments, ma­te­ri­als and ideas. My def­i­ni­tion of be­ing an ‘ur­ba­na­tive’ cen­tres on be­ing grounded and in­spired by my African cul­ture while be­ing in­volved in the modern world. This is trans­lated through my de­signs.”

But run­ning a start-up busi­ness is chal­leng­ing. “At the be­gin­ning, you are the busi­ness. I had to wear so many hats while still be­ing a mom and wife. Bal­anc­ing ev­ery­thing has been tricky, but sur­round­ing your­self with the right team is key. You con­stantly have to si­lence that in­ner critic and fo­cus on what needs to be done. It’s not easy, but I try to fo­cus on the pos­i­tive and re­main aware of each mo­ment,” she adds.

The Ur­ba­na­tive has at­tracted lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional ad­mi­ra­tion. “There have been many ‘wow’ mo­ments for me,” says Mpho. “One of them was be­ing cho­sen as part of this year’s Emerg­ing Cre­atives Pro­gramme, an an­nual joint ini­tia­tive by De­sign Ind­aba and the Depart­ment of Arts and Cul­ture to nur­ture new creative tal­ent. An­other was hav­ing stars like Calvin Klein, John Tra­volta and 50 Cent sit on the lounge chairs I de­signed for a busi­ness con­fer­ence in Florida in the US. Plus, I’ve col­lab­o­rated with amaz­ing cre­atives.”

And her fu­ture plans? “It’s all about global expansion,” she smiles.

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