Mzwakhe Ndlovu on “The Chain of Command”

Yup, we’ve added another fine specimen to the team at You&Me. As per usual we’ve asked him to answer a few questions about his first two weeks in the office, what he thinks about us and what he loves – and because it’s his job to do what we tell him to do, here it is:

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So, first thing’s first, how have you found your first two weeks as the new minion at You&Me? Don’t spare us the details 😉

My first two weeks have been really great. Everyone in the office is awesome and I’ve been enjoying everything, from the view to the unlimited cups of coffee ☺. What’s there to hate when you’ve got coffee-on-tap and a great view anyway? I’ve also enjoyed the vast amount of knowledge and experience I’ve gained in such a short amount of time, that is invaluable and having a team that is always communicating has really made the learning-curve much smoother than it would have been at any other studio.

We’re not about to deny the fact that we can be a bit crazy at You&Me! What took a bit of getting used to at the offices?

The occasional piggy-back rides between Meg, Jen and the boys took quite some getting used to, especially when they were being done right in front of the kettle I just boiled to make myself some java. Having to find a vantage point where I can steer clear of a piggy-back session took time. Other than that, being in the same office with Lorian and getting used to her behaviour while she’s having a nervous breakdown about content is tough, but I’m getting there.

We have to ask some sort of serious question – what have you learnt about the big, bad world of design? Give us the low down on your architectural background!

When it comes to the big, bad world of design, being trained as an interior designer really showed me how big and bad the design world really is if one is not careful. However, there are still a lot of good things in the design world and a lot can be done to make it all that much better. I had been freelancing for quite some time before joining the You&Me team and what I’ve learnt in the hardest way is that as a designer I have the responsibility of designing something that must serve a purpose and be usable by those it was designed for. Design should always be beneficial to everyone involved, be it a house or a brochure, design should be done for the betterment of society. I think that’s the most important part of design that I’ve learnt to understand. I’ve also learnt that a design in your head isn’t necessarily the design that should be on paper, always ask for help and advice before executing a final project, someone might lend an opinion that could make the design more powerful.

Now is your chance for a bit of self-promotion, tell us more about your personal design projects?

When it comes to my personal design ventures, I try by all means to experiment as much as I can and to collaborate with whomever I can. Out of a need to learn something new, I did a project last year with a photographer friend of mine, Brian, and that small project ended up being featured on 10and5 and we had a live interview on SABC 2’s Morning Live to discuss that project. So, when it comes to my own work, I try to gather concepts and execute them, no matter the scale of the project or complexity of an idea, the fun part is always getting it done and having executed what was once in my head. These concepts spawn from various areas in my life, from conversations with people to ideas that I have during other projects. Currently, I’ve started a few little experimental things; one of them has to do with “traditional design” and how some designers are frowned upon for not being able to draw or paint but are pretty damn good when it comes to computer-aided design.

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Who (or what) is one of your biggest design inspirations?

That’s a hard one. I have a lot of design inspirations, some aren’t even people or agencies, the most notable ones are Mies Van Der Rohe and Le Corbusier – I think very few architectural designers have managed to achieve what those guys have in terms of purity in design. Another design inspiration has to be Masamichi Katayama the owner of WONDERWALL, an interior design company. I just appreciate how he finds a way to make each and every design tailored for each client and still manages to retain a distinct look that can only be traced back to him. I think that’s what I meant by design being beneficial to all those involved, from client to designer and the design to its users, Katayama always makes sure his work is a win-win all around. Can I squeeze in one more designer? If yes, than the last name to put down is Dokter and Misses, I think they play a huge part in showing a lot of young South African designers how important it is to never compromise on quality and to always have fun with design.

That’s it! Pearls of wisdom from a great coffee drinker (and maker. Thanks, Pal)

Love, You&Me

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