Image from
Image from The Urbanative

THE URBANATIVE // embracing graphic cultural signifiers in design

Design brand, The Urbanative, explores how cultural patterns and motifs can be reinterpreted in modern design while still making sure that they are recognized as graphic cultural signifiers from a specific context. Through this application or reinterpretation of these patterns and motifs The Urbanative aims to celebrate culture and extend its communication across generations, and places.

On their website it is expressed that through the company’s practice “we discover commonalities in multiple cultural signs and therein we begin a conversation where the importance of culture is celebrated but so is its evolution.” This is a powerful statement as it communicates a respect for cultural motifs, while recognizing that cultures and their visual languages are not static. This actively works against notions that certain cultural groupings or symbols occupy anachronistic space in today’s definitions of design (McClintock 1995). They, in fact, transform and by doing so, pay homage to their previous selves.

Collaboration is another important pillar that holds up The Urbanative. The brand works with a range of multidisciplinary professionals who are able to offer a different perspectives and solutions related to imaginative, multifunctional design.

Designer for The Urbanative, Mpho Vackier, was recognized as one of the 2017 Design Indaba Emerging Creatives. Her works embraces the simplistic functionality of Scandinavian design which is combined with the vibrant geometric patterns found on Ndebele textiles and homes. Her designs also touches on various other African patterns and stylistic languages which she translates into furniture for the urban citizen.

To check out more of The Urbanative’s collections visit their website.

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