Meterage: The act of measuring │ 2022

Meterage: The act of measuring │ 2022

PD23 Winner

Category:Furniture - Table UnitsLocation:Johannesburg, South AfricaDesigner:Thabisa mjo, Phillip Hollander, Stephen Wilson, and Michael Smith, mash t design studio, Johannesburg, South AfricaManufacturer:houtlander, Johannesburg, South Africa

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) presents Future Heirlooms, a project in collaboration with designer collective Always Welcome, manufacturer and designer Houtlander, highlighting the work of South African designers and exploring the future of sustainable design.
Meterage: The act of measuring is the outcome of this project. The table is designed by Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio. Hand carved American red oak; ebony slow stain; water-based sealer.

Thabisa Mjo, founder of MashT Design Studio, looked to Umbhaco materials and garments — the traditional dress worn by the Xhosa people of South Africa — for her interpretation of the Future Heirlooms brief. Her table, which was hand carved by Phillip Hollander (the cofounder of the Houtlander studio), is entitled Meterage: The Act of Measuring.

In a literal sense the design approach considers measuring itself, asking how much fabric one needs to make the Umbhaco garment. But in another sense, and with an eye toward sustainable furniture production, asks what the measure is of an object itself as Phillip carves the wood to ‘reveal’ the Umbhaco hidden within the wood.

“In measuring which part is fitting to take or leave behind, it’s as though whatever is taken with you in the design process actually becomes the heirloom,” Mjo says.

“The reason I designed a table, subtly, explains why I chose Umbhaco as my heirloom. Tables are utilitarian, and they’re diverse; round, oblong, square, for working, for eating, for displaying etc. So, tables become objects we tend to gather around for fellowshipping and exchanging ideas with one another. Those ideas influence the stories we tell ourselves and each other and those stories inform what we consider worthy of being heirlooms in our lives, and in our homes.”


Thabisa Mjo┃Mash T Studio

Thabisa Mjo is an award-winning designer from South Africa and is passionate about melding technology and traditional crafts to create a contemporary design aesthetic. Her company, Mash T Design studio is a South African designer and manufacturer of lighting and furniture, founded in 2015.

Thabisa has become the first South African designer to have two of her works, the Tutu Light and Mjojo Cabinet, acquired as part of the permanent collection at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) in the Louvre.

The Centre Pompidou in Paris has also acquired the Hlabisa Bench for their permanent collection. This winning table Meterage: the art of measuring, was hand carved by Phillip Hollander of furniture manufacturing company, Houtlander.

More works from the designer:

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