Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji from  of Studio Propolis
Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji from of Studio Propolis

Prototyping at the Democratic Design Days

We’re at the IKEA prototype workshop, where the real magic happens, for a first-hand glance at the work in progress for limited edition collection, ÖVERALLT.

The space smells of fresh cut wood. Artists, designers and creatives – all apart of the collaboration between IKEA and Design Indaba for ÖVERALLT, are spread across the prototype workshop floor of IKEA of Sweden at the Democratic Design Days. Curiosity is in the air. What will IKEA’s first African collaboration look like?

It’s about creating a space for a more intimate meeting experience, and sharing moments.

Right next to us, husband and wife duo, Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji, behind Nairobi-based design partnership, Studio Propolis are discussing their ÖVERALLT prototypes with an Indonesian reporter.

“Many of the ideas for our pieces revolve around eating together,” Bethan says as he points to tableware prototypes. “But first I want to talk about this bench,” and the crew walks over to a low, rounded bench that will eventually be made in cork. “It’s about creating a space for a more intimate meeting experience, and sharing moments. People don’t sit together, or eat together today as much as they used to. It’s about slowing down.”

And, the several different tableware items will eventually allow people to prepare, cook, eat and store food – all in one piece.

“We want to enable people to get rid of plastic in the kitchen,” Naeem states.

Not far from Studio Propolis is Selly Rabe Kane, fashion designer and art director from Dakar. In front of her is a huge board of inspiration and mood images of patterns, African braiding and product sketches.

“My idea is to translate Dakar into characters, and then reinterpret those characters through braiding sculptures into objects,” she explains as she holds up a colourful African pattern imagined into a carpet.