Jordan Awori


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In my last three post’s I’ve been taking you through my experience at this year’s Design Indaba conference and unfortunately this is the last post on the experience.

Let me give you a minute to take it in and recover from the shock…

Are you okay, have you accepted it?

You have? Good. Okay where was I…

During the conference, as I was admiring the designs nominated for THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OBJECT IN SOUTH AFRICA , I was lucky enough to stumble upon Thabo Makhetha Collective stand in the same area. The collective, a luxury African inspired concept store run by the amazing fashion designer Thabo Makhetha, that curates and brings together the works of other African designers such as ONEOFEACH, IMISO, Ruff Tung and the subject for this post, jewellery design firm Afrigarde.

Afrigarde, the brainchild of Maria Uys, really wowed me with two items that were on display, a chair and a loop light. If you read my post last year, WHEN FASHION MEETS DECOR: LOUIS VUITTON TA MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2017 , you know that I love it when fashion designers cross over to the wonderful world of interiors.

So here’s a look at not only this brilliant jewellery firm, who use felt to create hand made wearable art, but also the amazing products they created when they ventured into the wonderful world of decor.


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“Each year Design Indaba engages people with the question of what constitutes beauty. While some may think of beauty as an aspect of personal taste and others know it on sight, beauty becomes far more profound when attributes such as cultural significance, sustainability, artisanal craft, usability or even a sense humour are thrown into the mix.”

With that said Design Indaba, the biggest design conference, holds a “competition” that allows people to vote on the South African designs they have curated  as being worthy of THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OBJECT IN SOUTH AFRICA title.

When I signed up for this year’s conference there were three things I was super excited about, listening to the amazing speakers, interacting with designers and artists from all over the world and seeing the 10 designs nominated as the most beautiful objects. So it isn’t surprising that on the first day of the conference, during the first break, I dashed over to the area the designs were being exhibited to marvel in all their glory.

So there I was in the area designated for this display and nothing had been set up yet.

There’s a scene in the 1957 American romance film, An Affair to Remember, where Terry and Nickie, who were both in relationships with other people, agree to reunite at the top of the Empire State Building in six months’ time if they have succeeded in ending their relationships and starting new careers. On the day of their rendezvous, Terry, hurrying to reach the Empire State Building, is struck down by a car while crossing a street. Gravely injured, she is rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, Nickie, waiting for her at the observation deck at the top of the building, is unaware of the accident and, after many hours, leaves at midnight, believing she has rejected him.

If you’re wondering what this story has to do with anything, well as I stood there in a room with no beautiful objects I knew exactly how Nickie felt; Disappointed, Heartbroken, Dejected. But I was not going to give up, so at lunch time and in the evening, after the day’s speakers were done, I came back and still found nothing. Fortunately, as was the case with Nickie and Terry who end up together at the end of the movie, I came back the next day and they were all there perfectly displayed.

With that said, here are the 10 designs that were nominated and of them the one that was voted for, by the public, as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL OBJECT IN SOUTH AFRICA (let the record show that it was actually my favourite piece)

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In my last post THE SPEAKERS: MY DESIGN INDABA EXPERIENCE I took you through my 10 favourite speakers at this year’s biggest design conference, Design Indaba. In today’s post I’m going to take you through another part of the conference, THE EMERGING CREATIVE PROGRAMME, and tell you who my favourites were.

The programme was founded by Design Indaba in 2005 to nurture new creative talent and break down barriers to entry for those just getting started, by supporting young creatives who have relatively little industry exposure.

“The Class of 2018, made up of young architects, fashion designers, illustrators, furniture designers, jewellers, graphic designers and multi-disciplinary mavericks, were selected based on the quality and originality of their work and its ability to stand alongside world-class designs. Of the 50 young designers, 40 showcased their work in Cape Town at the Artscape Theatre Centre at Design Indaba from 21 to 23 February, with a further 10 showing at LISOF, as part of the Design Indaba Johannesburg Simulcast 2018.”

I will be honest with y’all, before turning up for the conference I didn’t know this was even a thing and I only found out when it was announced by the hosts on the first day. Excited to see what it was all about I headed to the area they were exhibiting, on the evening of the first day, and I’m glad to announce that I was pleasantly surprised and extremely inspired. If these 40 designers are the future of African design let me just assure y’all that Africa is going to do just fine, scratch that, its going to do GREAT!!!

So here’s a look at my THREE favourite emerging designers from this year’s Design Indaba conference, who coincidentally are from three different fields; Interior (of course), graphic and fashion.


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There are two types of people in the world, those who’d rather sit at the front of the class and those who find haven at the back. Well, let’s just say that when I was in school I was always the one sitting right at the front and if you saw me at this year’s Design Indaba conference you’d have seen that nothing had changed. Attending Design Indaba had always been on my bucket list and I wasn’t going to waste any single moment sitting anywhere other than where I’d have the best view of the speakers. I think the sure way to get you to understand how excited I was is to compare it with how excited a Luhya gets in the presence of food. For all of you who aren’t from Kenya, the Luhya (of which I am one of) is a Kenyan tribe that is known for their EXTREME love for food and the way we take our food seriously is the way I took attending the biggest 3 day design conference.

After a dramatic day getting to Capetown (that included sitting next to an “acrobatic” baby for a six hour flight, a bomb scare at O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg, an Uber driver from hell and breaking my hotel keycard in the lock) I was excited to be where I had wanted to be for years, listening to the design greats surrounded by creatives from all over the world.

So there I was 5,200km from home, in a land I knew absolutely no one, but I felt completely at home. As I sat smack centre of the fourth row armed with a camera,  notepad, pen and a million other things that as a women I just can’t seem to get rid of in my bag, I was ready to absorb as much knowledge and inspiration from all the speakers.

Speaking of speakers here’s a look at my favourite from the whole conference. Some of them were powerful speakers, others showed great works, other’s demonstrated passion like no other but what they all managed to do was make me believe in myself and my abilities not only as a designer but as a human. So with that said here are the 10 speakers that made Design Indaba one of the greatest experiences of my life. Oh, and let the record show that in the spirit of sharing my true and honest opinion about each of the speakers I shall be sharing the exact notes I took on each one, no editing done at all!

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A couple of weeks ago I was having breakfast with some amazing women discussing our businesses/career paths and somewhere in that discussion we started talking about how when one’s business starts growing the little things they used to enjoy doing within the company slowly start taking a back seat. Reason always being that one doesn’t have enough time anymore. As we were all nodding trying to think of aspects of our business/careers that fit within this scope one of the women, my cousin and one of my biggest supporters, looks me straight in the eyes and says;

“Jordan, you’re culprit number one because you used to love doing your askTID sessions yet when’s the last time you’ve done one?”

“Uh, well…..”

“You see, guilty as charged.”

Then she takes a bite of her eggs and continues enjoying her meal as if she hadn’t just slapped some sense into me.

She was right though, I hadn’t done a session for 5 whole months and I should be ashamed of myself. For those of you who dont know what askTID is, it simply means ASK THE INTERIOR DECORATOR. It is 24 hours of me availing myself online, offering FREE INTERIOR DESIGN AND DECOR ADVICE. Whether one is having a hard time choosing a paint colour, or they don’t know where to find furniture or fabrics, or they just need help figuring out how to arrange their space, I am there to help them out. Check out the last sessions HERE.

To understand why having not conducted these sessions made me ASHAMED, you’d need to first understand why I do what I do (bare with me now). One of the reasons why I chose my career path as an interior stylist is because I place so much value on having a place to call home. I strongly believe that no matter how big or small, everyone needs at least four walls that they can call their own. Four walls that are a reflection of who they are! It’s therefore my life’s mission to help everyone achieve this either through my styling services or this blog. I will be honest, that sometimes I don’t feel like this blog is sufficient in helping people get absolute advice as it isn’t really as personalised to all of your individual needs and thus my askTID sessions. Now do you understand why not having done them in so long makes me feel so ashamed? It’s because I feel like I’m not being true to my mission of helping all of y’all turn your houses into homes.

So with that said and done, I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me (I sound like an unfaithful spouse who’s seen the error of their ways) and to prove I’m genuinely sorry I come bearing a gift like no other, the gift of knowledge. Knowledge of how to get the most out of any interior designer/decorator/stylist you may work with. I usually tell all my clients that it’s extremely important for the two of us to understand that we will be venturing into a very intimate relationship where the client has to open up their life-and dreams-to interpretation. Remember that when you hire a designer, especially for your home, you are entrusting them with your haven.

I have therefore prepared a cheat-sheet of the 7 best ways to get the most out of your designer, and if you follow ever single one I promise you will not only enjoy the journey but also guarantee a spectacular destination, that of your dream interiors.

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