African entrepreneur Peter Mabeo brings together local artisans with international design stars. The result: world-class furniture.
Designer Peter Mabeo brings together African craftsmanship and international designers. Gaborone, the 300,000-inhabitants capital of Botswana, is not exactly what one understands as being a design metropolis. A few skyscrapers, the usual shopping malls and faceless conference hotels, surrounded by a landscape that is beautiful to the eye, sparsely populated with humans, but denser with wild animals. And yet here exists the creations of great designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Luca Nichetto and the Swedish trio Claesson Koivisto Rune.
How is this possible? By Peter Mabeo. After the forty-five-year-old from Gaborone had designed tailor-made furniture for local customers for ten years, he succeeded in inspiring some of the most sought-after names of the creative scene in his wood and carving workshop: “I wanted to do more, As a business that not only emulates what’s going on from abroad to Botswana,” says the autodidact. “Instead, I wanted to combine the different talents and create something in which everyone is involved in the design, and profit from each other.” African craftsmen who can cut a stool out from a tree trunk without a sketch should be familiar with the thinking of established creators. These, in turn, should be inspired by traditional techniques and rethink rigid work processes.READ MORE