October 4, 2023

Award winning design in Nando’s

Architecture, Commercial

Thabisa Mjo is an award-winning designer from South Africa whose pendant “Tutu” lamps can be found in Nando’s restaurants around the world.

Mjo’s Mash Design Studio draws upon South Africa’s rich cultural heritage to inspire modern design. Mjo is passionate about preserving the essence of traditional artisanal craftsmanship. This is achieved through melding technology and age-old crafts, to create a contemporary design aesthetic.

Earlier this year I photographed the refurbished Castleford Nando’s as designed by Harrison. The restaurant has been completely transformed, from the exterior’s addition of a new aged bronze fascia with distinctive joint lines, to the Peri-Peri interior with a triple height ceiling featuring five wow factor Tutu pendant lights.

The Tutu light, so called because it resembles a ballerina’s tutu, is the very first product that Mjo ever designed. Early in her pursuit of becoming an interior designer she came across the Nando’s Hot Young Designer search where the brief was to design a pendant. She not only won the prestigious accolade but has continued to supply Nando’s with the Tutu pendant.

The newly refurbished Nando’s Castleford has been designed with an array of lighting, including handmade recycled glass light pendants, aged brass track mounted spots, bespoke timber wall lights, tube wall mounted uplighters in aged brass, and woven ring lampshades. There is a variety of seating options, from flexible single tables with fixed and lose seating, to large round marble and live edge banqueting tables. The seating is covered with a selection of leather plus African inspired fabrics and includes the Alisa armchair by Hill Cross Furniture and the waiting bench by David Krynauw.

Harrison have designed the restaurant area with a concrete effect render finish and a feature wall with clay linier bricks laid in pattern bond. The flooring is divided between geometric dark grey tiles adjacent to the servery and warm rich wide plank European oak engineered timber flooring by Ted Todd in the restaurant floor area.

Nando’s design thrives on close collaboration with local artisans who skilfully weave South African stories into the fabric of their restaurants.

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