Taking African design to the world

At Nando’s, design is more than making sure our restaurants around the world look good and stay true to our Southern African roots and heartbeat. The golden

“purpose” thread that runs through The Nando’s Design programme is “Be Part of More”, which highlights the Nando’s commitment to changing lives. For us, design is about nurturing emerging talent from South Africa and helping to create platforms for makers to tell their unique stories through design.

“The Nando’s Design Programme initiatives have not only helped uncover new names and catapult bright young designers to global recognition through annual projects, such as the Hot Young Designer competition, but more importantly, the Nando’s Design Programme has facilitated exposure to global business opportunities that have accelerated the growth of these fledgling businesses,” explains Tracy Lynch, Creative Director of the Nando’s Design Programme.

She adds that “be part of more” recognises that design is relevant and important to our future because it shares our stories and builds dignity linked to identity.

The Nando’s Portal to Africa, an online shopping platform for furniture and design items created by South African designers and makers, is a wonderful example of this. The portal is available exclusively to interior designers working to design Nando’s restaurants globally.

“Portal to Africa has facilitated more than R60million worth of sales since it was launched in 2018, making it one of the country’s largest exporters of South African design,” says Tracy.

“To date, more than 20 000 products have been sold by more than 50 designers listed on the platform. This includes more than 6 000 chairs, almost 7 000 social distancing accessories (more about those here) and roughly 2 500 lights. Nando’s does not directly profit nor does it retain any intellectual property over the designs. The portal has facilitated the commercial exchange on their behalf. There are approximately 1 200 Nando’s restaurants located across the globe from Washington DC to Dhaka, and each space showcases bold, bespoke furniture items which are procured through this online interface. The inclusion of craft creates opportunity for many creative communities. The design industry is an inclusive industry with the potential to generate employment.”

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Since it was launched in May 2018, the Portal has shipped over R40 million worth of South African designed products, and since the chain makes no direct profit from the Portal, charging only a levy to help run it, the profit goes directly into the design businesses.

Michael Spinks, Nando’s property and development director says that the aim is to establish sustainable demand with the assistance of partnerships and, through a collaborative approach with the industry, ensure that the sector is scaled up to meet the growing demand. “We see our engagement with these businesses as a journey… Ultimately the long-term objective is to develop South African design as a globally sought-after category brand.”

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