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Prepping for Design Indaba Expo | Studio Visits in JHB

Prepping for Design Indaba Expo - Studio Number 19, Ceramic Factory, Henriette Botha


Since its start in 2004, the Design Indaba Expo has been heralding the South African creative industry by presenting visitors with the best in homegrown design.


It has become the biggest curated design event in the Southern Hemisphere, providing a dynamic platform for advertising, craft, decor, fashion, product design, industrial design, new media, publishing, visual art, jewellery design and graphic design, all under one roof.


In the run up to Design Indaba we decided to take a behind the scenes look at the making of the Design Indaba Expo through a series of studio and workshop visits. Starting with a selection of Cape Town exhibitors last week, we’ve now done the same in Johannesburg to find out how Studio Number 19, Ceramic Factory and Henriette Botha are getting ready for the Expo.


Studio Number 19


Studio Number 19 - 3s

Studio Number 19 - 1s

Studio Number 19 - 4s


Mia Widlake began Studio Number 19 four years ago out of a sincere need to make things. She started by creating things for herself, but as these accumulated Mia ventured into the world of retail, initially stocking at Anatomy Design. Studio Number 19 does not have a single workshop, rather the manufacturing process is divided between a number of local craftsmen and women who bring to life Mia’s vision in the form of lighting, ceramics, printed fabrics, furniture and accessories.


Mia’s style is mostly monochromatic, with a bit of humour thrown into the mix. This being her first experience of Design Indaba, Mia remarks that it’s been a challenge to get things made on time but she has thoroughly enjoyed the process. At the Expo Studio Number 19 will be showcasing a new Butler Lamp, Constellation Lamp and Butler seating system in brass and oak, as well as a dining and side table adaption of the Y table.


We paid a visit to the woodworking factory (run by Philip Cootes) where the lighting and certain items of furniture are crafted for Studio Number 19, and we caught up with Mia in her home studio while she sorted and packed her stock for the Expo.


Ceramic Factory


The Ceramic Factory - 1s

The Ceramic Factory - 2s

The Ceramic Factory - 3s


Ceramic Factory began as a small Clayze Pottery and Supplies factory in Ferndale. In 2012, owner and creative director Rial Visagie established the production and factory side of Ceramic Factory which took the company to a new level. By December 2012 they had opened their first showroom, and have since grown into the leading Ceramic Supplier in South Africa.


Often working with his friends in mind, Rial Visagie cites his inspiration as a little weird and wonderful. Ceramic Factory’s Linden showroom echoes their ethos of fun meets functionalityand is stocked with a ceramic gift range as well as various décor items, light fixtures, collectables and tableware.


At Design Indaba Expo this year. Ceramic Factory is showcasing their Skull range – a collection inspired by South African wildlife. Just in time to catch the range before it’s transported to Cape Town for the Expo, we visited the workshop to learn how the items are made from start to finish.


Henriette Botha


Henriette Botha - 2s

Henriette Botha - 1s

Henriette Botha - 3s


Henriette Botha creates handcrafted, locally manufactured statement jewellery pieces. Using colourful and unconventional materials, Henriette takes a new approach to the concept of African jewellery by combining unconventional materials with traditional methods. The result is fresh, colourful, intricate and beautiful.


Drawing on her background and experience in the realms of jewellery design as well as fashion, Henriette began her own label about a year ago. More than anything she enjoys being in her workshop, seeing an idea turn into something tactile.


Ahead of her Design Indaba debut as an Emerging Creative, we visited one very busy Henriette (and her two talented crafts-women) as they prepared for the launch of her new range at the Expo.


Visit Design Indaba Expo:


Tickets R80 (online or at the door)

Pensioners and Students: R60 (at the door only)

Children (10 to 18 years old): R45 (at the door only)

Under 10: free


Between 10 and 5