By Rufaro Kaviya

Not enough praise could be sung as men and women alike gathered, trying to stay as close as possible to the beautifully crafted pieces, and the men behind the Dondo Collection.

Consisting of two distinct pieces with Shona names; Dendere: the reading chair, and Mapazi: the coffee table, this collection by industrial designer Elliot Stone Beattie strived to produce pieces that would both seamlessly compliment any room, whilst being the height of comfort.

Dendere (nest): Shona- The bed or receptacle prepared by a fowl for holding her eggs and for hatching and rearing her young

Mapazi (branches): Shona, plural of bazi- Something resembling a branch in its relation to the trunk; an offshoot or part extending from the main body of a thing: a ramification; a subdivision; an outgrowth

The successful launch of the collection that took place at Queen of Heart on May 23rd saw a strong turn-out from both young and old from various industries gushing over the simplicity of the sleek design and sharing the ongoing debate of the night; dark or light, as people made their call to which most drew their appeal.

Having distinct dark and light themes from local woods – stained Mukwa and the pale Jacaranda, one would think that the choice came from a place where, as Elliot himself joked, “should sound a lot more romantic.” Rather, it was to cater for how we, as consumers, tend to be split down the middle between dark and light.

The range itself pays homage to diminishing natural woodlands across Zimbabwe with the name, Dondo being defined as a tract of land, or a region, uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, whether a forest or a wide, barren plain, a wild,  a waste, a desert or a pathless waste of any kind.

Working with Nigel Joscelyne was not a first for Elliot Beattie and he had always known he had wanted to work on a standalone project with him, specifically in furniture.  “With Nigel’s work, the quality of his finish is far superior to any other I have seen in Harare.”

While the project itself has taken a year to reach completion, Elliot hopes this may be a new era in Nigel’s business focusing on furniture. This however is not his only ambition. He hopes to build a bigger community around design in any of the artisan fields rather than our massive community around crafts as we so commonly see. “I think that Zimbabwe has huge potential to retail its own product”.

The overall successful launch saw 10% of the profits made on the evening as well as proceeds from the boards on sale going towards the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit.