Dezeen Article May 2017

Botswanan brand Mabeo has launched three new collections of furniture made using wood and waste metal from the local construction industry.

The brand, which works with southern African craftspeople and materials, recruited three international designers for the new collections. Garth Roberts from Canada, Inès Bressand from France and Francesco Faccin from Italy each worked on products that would showcase local woods and galvanised metal.

Each item in Zezuru contrasts smooth wood with a component made from galvanised metal.

The collections were shown at this years Milan design week in April. Mabeo had a shopfront at Tom Dixons Multiplex installation, where the British designer launched his IKEA collaboration and new products, as well as showcasing the works of several handpicked international studios.

Garth Roberts’ Seri tables are textured around the edges of their tops and legs
Mabeo showed past work alongside the three new metal and wood series at Multiplex. Bressand’s take on the materials forms a collection called Zezuru, named after the ethnic group whose metalwork is featured.

The cabinet, chair and coffee table in this collection each contrast smooth wood with a component made from galvanised metal, rougher in appearance and bearing visible hammer marks.

Francesco Faccin’s Masalela tables are topped with textured aluminium treadplate
Faccin’s Masalela pieces, meanwhile, have a more lightweight appearance. The Masalela – a word meaning “leftovers” in one of the local languages – are side tables apparently intended as “pot plant platforms”.

They are made entirely from metal – a base formed from smooth and brightly painted galvanised metal, and a top that uses a more industrial-looking textured aluminium tread plate. The Masalela are intended to serve as “pot plant platforms”.

The final of the three new collections, Roberts’ Seri, is an extension of a previous accessories series and focuses entirely on wood. It features a round dining table and side table, textured around the edges of their tops and legs.

Mabeo was founded in 1996 with the goal of producing locally in Botswana and southern Africa. Its first international designer collaboration was with Canadian Patty Johnson, who produced the Tswana folding chair and ThuThu stool for the brand in 2008.