The Urbanative, African design story, Mpho Vackier, Akaya Lounge Chair, Mudziira, Legae, Amani

Homecoming: an African design story

The local design collab that’s taking our breath away. 

Spearheaded by The Urbanative’s ever-so-stylish Mpho Vackier, Homecoming is a new release that we just can’t get enough of. It’s aptly titled, because the furniture and accessories collection features work by a veritable who’s who of homegrown design and craft talent. Think Jan Ernst, Okra Candles, The Herd, The Mill Fabrics, Neimil and Wolkberg Casting Studios. 

Homecoming was born from the design of the Akaya Lounge Chair created during the long, difficult Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. The armchair features a fine balance of elegant curves and lean lines with a neat little side table incorporated into its design. Akaya means home in Xitsonga and, a year later, has evolved into a 24-piece collection the team have titled Homecoming.

Mpho shares the purpose of the collection: “to illustrate – through colour, texture and form – the idea that home is not a physical concept, but rather a feeling (of warmth, comfort, peace and sanctuary). Home is a place where dreams and hopes take root.”

The collection comprises sculptural lights, a generous sofa, lounge chair, tables and ottoman, as well as wonderfully tactile and amorphic ceramics from Jan Ernst. Other accessories include a modern take on a school quilt, a beautifully crafted mirror, and candleware in collab with Okra Candles.

The name of each piece is taken from an African word that conjures up the idea of home, across the continent. For example, there’s Mudziira (meaning warmth in Shona), Legae (meaning home in Setswana), and Amani (meaning peace in Swahili). 

The Urbanative’s mandate to tell African stories through design rings very true in the Homecoming collection. Often the vernacular is obvious, but sometimes there’s just the most subtle of whispers and this is where the brand gets it right every time.  The collection is every bit a portrayal of contemporary African storytelling, referencing local culture and tradition without losing relevance and modern appeal. There’s a playful experimentation with geometry here as well as a sophisticated meeting of subtle neutrals showcasing the season’s ever-popular rust shade.  

Whatever your definition of home, you’re sure to find something from Homecoming that will find its way into yours.

Words and production: J-P de la Chaumette and Mila Crewe-Brown
Images: Supplied

** You can see other Urbanative product featured on Lifestyling here and here.