Johannesburg- African artists and designers have long been inspired by the continent’s bold graphics, vigorous silhouettes, and magnificent craftsmanship.
While each country has its unique style, some commonalities run throughout the region. While this is the case, the world of interior design has been moulded by the dominant culture of white people and white prestige.
Numerous interior designers have remained silent in the face of calls for a more fair representation and diverse industry.
Kgomotso Malope, founder and creative director of MoTSO DeSIGNED Interiors, has addressed the need for African designers who represent the modern African aesthetic.
Established in 2016, the interior design company specialises in African-inspired interior design.
MoTSO DeSIGNED Interiors provides interior design services in residencies, corporations and the hospitality industry.
In addition, they also offer interior decorating consultations, custom wallpaper design and print and sell house brand MoTSO DeSIGNED wallpapers.
For the Tembisa-born entrepreneur, her passion for art and design started at an early age, but for some reason, she convinced herself that art was not for women.
All the artists she knew were male. “I pursued the sciences and studied and qualified as a Biomedical Technologist specialising in Microbiology,” Malope explained.
At a certain point, Malope decided to take a step and follow her passion for arts and design.
She studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design at The Design School Southern Africa.
As an avid traveller who has journeyed the African continent extensively, Malope has been inspired by the different African artistry to create spaces that are audaciously different.
Malope said, “When people started asking me to design their spaces as well, I saw that as an opportunity to turn passion into profit,” she said.
She draws inspiration from plants, nature and flowers.
“I am quite observant. I look closely at how things are made and how they work. I look at the details. I love details. This helps in my creative projects.” she said.
“The magic is in the details,” she explained.
The 100% Black Female owned visuals communication company honours the diversity and soulfulness of African graphics and accessories.
It prides itself on its creative abilities and project management skills.
“We are empathetic to our client’s needs and always strive to create aesthetically pleasing user-defined spaces”, Malope said.
The company subscribes to green design principles because sustainability and recycling are of great importance to them.
Their suppliers possess environmentally friendly credentials, which allow them to create products which are not harmful to the environment and are safe enough to be used in different spaces such as offices and nurseries.
Malope said one of the company’s most prominent challenges was during Covid when it had to close down due to lockdown restrictions.
“But due to the demand for Covid/lockdown-related printed materials (labels for sanitisers, social distancing notices etc ), I quickly pivoted and used our printers to print branding materials.
“That’s how we survived that crisis,” Malope explained.
Currently, the company is facing a bigger challenge due to the long load-shedding periods, as they don’t have big industrial generators to power their machines.
Over the years the company has had a fantastic response.
“One finds people who think there is no need for interior designers as a business or profession, but those are not our clients.
“If we can, we try to educate them on what we do and why they need us, sometimes we succeed, sometimes we don’t, that’s how life goes.” Malope explained.
Paying it forward, Malope said she volunteers her time and expertise.
“I have been involved in community outreach programmes where we paint facilities.
“I love painting murals, and usually, donate my time and paint murals at township and rural crèches.”
The company is in Johannesburg but can travel near and far for their clients.
They operate wherever they are needed, even outside the borders of South Africa.
For their services, potential clients can book online consultations at www.motsodesigned.com where clients can discuss their interior design needs.