Fluid form
Wallpaper|November 2021
Rich Mnisi’s first solo show at Cape Town’s Southern Guild gallery encapsulates his multifaceted approach
MAZZI ODU

‘When I design, I do it from a personal place. But in terms of describing what I do, I would probably settle with “artist”, because it has fewer limitations and I enjoy working in multiple disciplines,’ says South African designer Rich Mnisi. Best known for the eponymous fashion brand he founded in 2015, as well as his photography practice and social advocacy platform Thoughts, Mnisi has since expanded his work to furniture design. A series of much-lauded pieces, shown as part of group exhibitions at Cape Town’s Southern Guild gallery, has culminated in a highly anticipated solo show, ‘Nyoka’, which opened in November.

For Mnisi, designing furniture was a natural progression from fashion. ‘When I create a fashion collection, if I had 15 runway looks, the 16th had to be an object or something that would describe the collection,’ he says. ‘Sometimes it was a starting point in the design or the endpoint.’ This bookending lent itself to expanding theses, especially when he felt the realm of apparel proved to limit.

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