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Proudly South African handmade furniture for new Google office

Tuesday, 30 June 2015   (4 Comments)
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American multinational technology company Google has come a long way from the dorm room and the garage – it now has more than 70 offices in more than 40 countries, designed to reflect locations and to spark creative approaches to work, play and life. So it was no surprise that when Google South Africa required a brand new office interior in Bryanston, Johannesburg, the stunning work of master wire craftsman Willard Musarurwa of Feeling African Studio in Cape Town was on the must-have list.

Trend Group, which was contracted to undertake the project, heard of Willard via an architectural contact, and he delivered a sample chair. This led to an order for 12 large white chairs, six black dining tables and six yellow stools for the cafeteria. These matched the brief from Google of creating a Proudly South African space, with a focus on boldness and creativity.

“The client was very friendly and it was a great job to work on,” said Willard. “As a crafts wire furniture manufacturer, I have seen a shift to people buying more eco-friendly products. As we upcycle wire materials, this matched the client brief.”

The entire office project started in April and the handover is scheduled for the end of June. To meet the deadline for this order, Willard created employment for six township-based craftspeople, in addition to his regular staff.

Willard’s handcrafted furniture, which is powder-coated in various colours, is stocked by many leading South African and international décor and homeware retailers. It has featured in design magazines and at the Design Indaba Expo (a table was selected as one of the Most Beautiful Objects in South Africa in 2006) and the New York Gift Fair, and has been distributed overseas.

On completion of the Google office order, the first to hear the good news was the Cape Craft + Design Institute (CCDI), a not-for-profit organisation that has advised and supported Willard since he arrived in Cape Town over a decade ago. At the time, despite his business studies and sales representative experience, he was unable to find a job and started making small wire items for sale in Long Street.

Through making contact with the CCDI, he sold his products at the Spier Festival. This led to milestones such as landing corporate gift orders with companies such as Woolworths, The Foschini Group and Weylandts, and even furniture for the TV soapie Generations. He participated in a major CCDI exhibition in 2004 to mark ten years of democracy, and was accepted for an Aid to Artisans programme led by American designer Stephen Burks.

Updating the CCDI on the order, Willard said: “Thank you for the investment and support you continuously give to my business. Now I can deal with large distributors and corporates without any hiccups, and they have confidence in working with me. They love my products – the quality and craftsmanship – and without you, all this couldn't have happened.”

Images of the new office will shortly be uploaded on


Feelingafrican says...
Posted Monday, 06 July 2015
Thanks Chic Fusion ,sounds sweet and inspiring.
Feelingafrican says...
Posted Monday, 06 July 2015
Thank you Leg Studio,proud that you are my client as well,appreciate your support.
LSD by Leg Studios says...
Posted Thursday, 02 July 2015
Well done Willard, that is awesome!
Chic Fusion cc says...
Posted Wednesday, 01 July 2015
Well done to Willard! Thanks to the CCDI for giving him a great start. He has a wonderful product and can be proud of his achievement. We are so very happy for you too Willard!

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