Siyanda Mazibuko, the founder of wooden furniture and homeware company PATE Arts & Crafts, is not a man who’s ever paid much attention to trends. Instead of following fads, he creates from his gut, his imagination.
Since he was a young boy, he’s had an intuitive leaning towards inventiveness. ‘I’ve always had a burning desire to create something with my hands,’ explains Siya, who was recently named one of the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives for 2016. ‘From about six-years-old I was always breaking things apart and finding out how they work’.
As he grew up, he started to channel this fire within into the furniture industry and joined forces with three other entrepreneurs to run an upholstery business that was very much focused on mass production. But wood was calling, and it was his deep love for timber coupled with his passion for artisanal craftsmanship that ultimately led him to start up PATE.
‘Wood is one material that I just cannot stop working with,’ he says. ‘I find so much enjoyment in the process of turning raw wood into a beautiful piece of furniture. The many different types, colours and textures of wood encourage me to keep exploring and trying new things’.
At the core of every piece he creates is a need ‘to bring imagination to life’, hence the name PATE, which references the mind and the wonders that come from it. This open-minded philosophy results in pieces that are not just functional but also strikingly one-of-a-kind – the sorts of considered, design-centric items that you feel you have to have in your home.
His personal favourite of the lot is the unusually shaped Mboma chair. ‘I created it a couple of times in my head before I actually built it, so I’m very connected to this piece,’ he says proudly.
This chair, like all of PATE’s other furniture, is made from wood sourced locally, and a number of his products are upcycled from scrap timber and old pallets, so he seamlessly marries beauty with eco-consciousness.
Through this approach and his creations’ bold aesthetics, he’s quickly building a strong brand that he hopes will help to redefine and strengthen the African design scene. No matter how much PATE grows though, he will always remain a woodworker who creates magic with his hands. ‘My desire to create grows daily,’ he says. ‘I have absolutely no reason to do anything else’.