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If you haven’t been there yet, the Nando’s concept restaurant in Maponya Mall is a sight worth seeing. Decked out in all-local design pieces – from the salt and pepper shakers to the woven chairs, geometric wall planters, lighting pieces, and striking centre-piece seating pods. Bold colour-pops of red, yellow and blue accentuate the interior and bring the vibrancy of the township into the space. The restaurant aims to bring local design flavour to Soweto and inspire people with imagination and craft. Design Partnership, who are behind the restaurant concept, were awarded a Silver Loerie at this year’s recent awards for their beautiful design and curation.

The two-story restaurant boasts an array of exceptional South African design pieces and art. Through their long-standing Art Initiative, Nando’s is invested in the creative industry and committed to supporting artists and designers. The Maponya Mall concept restaurant brings this all together inviting people from Soweto to experience the cream of the creative art and design crop in an exciting new way.

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The design elements in the restaurant have been cleverly used to enhance how people use and experience the space. The oversized coloured seating pods, which are a standout feature of the Casa (meaning Nando’s home or restaurant) are used to delineate the large physical size of the restaurant. These large cocoons were custom-made for the restaurant, with hand-dyed rope and copper details by MOS (Makers of Stuff). Not surprisingly, these are always the first seats in the Casa to be filled, and diners in these bespoke pods must feel like royalty. Local design studio Indigi Designs manufactured the yellow deconstructed chandelier wire light fittings, while the geometric wall planters were the work of ideas-makers ThingKing. The woven wire chairs by Haldane Martin pick up the colour cues of the space as do the lattice woven seats of Homewood’s timbre chairs.

To solve a common problem in multi-level restaurants, that being to entice people to the upper floors, the Maponya Mall Nando’s uses an alluring ‘red carpet’ to lead patrons upstairs. From this vantage point, views of some of Soweto’s most beautiful and historical homes can be enjoyed. Looking in from the street, Kilamny-Jo Liversage’s larger-than-life 3-dimensionalgraffiti mural, Shina makes a striking statement as feature wall, brings the street in, and the interior out. Distressed timber doors were specifically sourced to bolster the message of Nando’s heritage and set the tone as soon as you step into the restaurant.

Having succeeded in stitching together vibrant threads of local creativity, generosity and heritage in the Maponya Mall concept restaurant, this Nando’s Casa is a beautiful space that is rich in culture and speaks authentically to its surroundings.

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