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Two young designers unveil their Nando's Co-Lab project



Candice Lawrence's winning lights for the Nando's Hot Young Designer Talent Search

A creative collision of South African music, art and design, the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival in partnership with Nando's is on at Constitution Hill from Wednesday 21 June until Sunday 25 June. With many exciting collaborations involved, it's definitely an event in Johannesburg's creative calendar not to miss – to give you an idea, over 10 000 people are expected to be there this Saturday alone.

One of the festival's design offerings that we're particularly excited about is the latest Nando's Co-Lab project. Coordinated by interior designer Tracy Lee Lynch, it sees the joint winners of the Nando's Hot Young Designer Talent Search in 2016 collaborate with each other on a new range of lights, which are being unveiled for the first time at the festival.

Though Tulsha Booysen and Candice Lawrence hadn't met prior to combining their talents on this project, they shared a love of African beadwork, recycled materials and modular design. We had a quick chat with these up-and-coming designers about the project, their process and what's next for each of them.

A mock-up of Candice Lawrence and Tulsha Booysen's collaborative lighting designs for the Nando's Co-Lab project

What is your creative and/or design background?

Candice Lawrence: I have a Bachelor’s degree in Surface Design.

Tulsha Booysen: I still consider myself a neonate in the world the of art. However, design has always been a passion of mine, and I took it as a subject when completing Grade 12 last year.

What’s it been like collaborating on the Nando's Co-Lab project?

Candice: Exciting; different minds coming together to collaborate, create and innovate is great. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The trip around the Nando's Central Kitchen and getting to see how Nando's really lives their brand was also very inspiring and gave me some new ideas for how to approach my own business.

Tulsha: It has been exciting, but very challenging, to step out of my comfort zone and tap into the creative mindset of an established designer.

Tell us about the design process you've undergone. What inspired you? And are you surprised at all by the outcome?

Candice: There are similarities in the way that Tulsha and I approach our work, particularly in the resourceful way that we source our materials. This showed potential for a successful collaboration. We shared the idea of using beaded/threaded components to make up the whole. The Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival is entered on the youth and creativity, and we wanted to express that in our designs too. This collaboration is about coming out of our comfort zones to work on something new and exciting. It's also about using what we have and seeing unexpected materials in a new light.

Tulsha: It's the fun nod to the iconic use of cans in South African arts and crafts that inspires me. For the given time frame, I think it was a success, but it will be more of a success if the public appreciates it. I think it will always be surprising to see what it's possible to achieve within a limited time.

A mock-up of Candice Lawrence and Tulsha Booysen's collaborative lighting designs for the Nando's Co-Lab project

In what ways has this been a rewarding experience for you?

Candice: Nando's does amazing work within the arts. Their main objective is to nurture creative talent. Knowing this, and being selected to participate in the festival to hopefully inspire other young entrepreneurs and creatives, is a privilege. Being able to meet new people in creative fields and collaborate with other designers has been incredible. I've learnt new ways of thinking from my peers and I've grown as a designer as a result.

Tulsha: The lessons learnt made the experience immensely rewarding, which I  am very grateful for, as I'm now able to articulate where I should improve myself when collaborating in the future.

What are your plans for the next few months?

Candice: I'm currently working on two new ranges to added to my pendant lighting range.

Tulsha: I'm working on a big project that I'm sure will keep me busy for the next few months.

And where would you like to be, career-wise, in five to 10 years?

Candice: I would like to travel the world through my work and continue working on collaborative projects with designers, engineers and other creatives.

Tulsha: I will pursue my studies next year in either Fine Art or Architecture. In 10 years I plan to have an established brand and business. But we'll see.

See Candice and Tulsha's new lighting designs as part of the Basha Uhuru Freedom Festival, happening at Constitution Hill until Sunday 25 June 2017. Visit nandos.co.za/explore/art for more details.

A mock-up of Candice Lawrence and Tulsha Booysen's collaborative lighting designs for the Nando's Co-Lab project