Press Release: Mad Design debut at Decorex March 19-22, 2020

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Press Release: Mad Design debut at Decorex March 19-22, 2020

Attention: Lifestyle Editors/News Editors

Multi-talented designer/architect debut at Decorex

Durban, March 16, 2020: TALENTED and innovative, a Durban husband-and-wife creative team are gearing up to boost their growing reputation even further at two high profile exhibitions.

Nqobile and Mholi Mthembu, the founders and directors of MAD DESIGN STUDIOS, an architecture, interior design and furniture design, sourcing and manufacturing business based in Morningside, will be the first black architecture/ interior design duo to exhibit at the popular Decorex Africa which is the design authority for the décor, interior design, and lifestyle industries, being held at the Durban Exhibition Centre from March 19-22, 2020.

The dynamic duo, the husband a professional architect and the wife an interior designer, have been in business with MAD DESIGN STUDIOS for seven years and employ six staff. They are carving a name for themselves in their industry, and have established a growing and impressive list of clients.

And with Nqobile’s marketing background – she used to be a senior brand manager for Unilever and left her corporate career at marketing manager level – and Mholi’s 15 years of professional architectural experience, they are keen to turn their brand into a household name.

“These forthcoming exhibitions will mean further opportunities to showcase what we love doing in the hopes of connecting with key industry players and meeting new clients. Although we’ve attended the Decorex shows in both Durban and Johannesburg for years, it’s been only to view, network and draw inspiration.

‘’This will be the first time we will be exhibiting and we are collaborating with some prominent industry brands: SHF Home, Classic Luxury Tiles, Light Plus Living, Belgotex, Niemann SA and Rest Assured,” Nqobile, 35, added. Additional to their own stand, MAD DESIGN STUDIOS is also doing an exciting collaboration with SHF Home to design and decorate the House & Garden magazine stand. 

At the end of the Decorex show, the design duo flies off to Johannesburg to display their creativity once again at the 2020 Proudly SA Buy Local Summit & Expo from March 23-24 by showcasing their short-listed furniture piece with the Department of Trade and Industry’s(DTI) national furniture design competition, which scouts for furniture and design talent. Their work will go on display at the DTI exhibition stand.

It is the second year that they have been placed in the top five in the all-important competition, which  helps to highlight their talent and build their profile, also encouraging competitiveness in the South African furniture manufacturing industry.

“The 2019 Furniture Design Competition’s theme was Contemporary Outdoor Furniture for Higher Learning Institutions. We have created a multi-functional outdoor piece which folds in different directions, so students can use it to work, collaborate and relax,” Mholi, 40, said.

The couple are members of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), the South African Institute for Architects (SAIA), the KwaZulu-Natal Institute for Architects (KZNIA) and the Africa Interior Design Institute (IID). They also currently involved in a development programme run by Property Point, a Growth Point Initiative dedicated to unlocking opportunities for SMEs operating in the South Africa’s property sector.

The couple’s clientele has grown from residential clients to multi-million rand corporations and includes work designing commercial spaces in the upmarket uMhlanga Ridge area.

Nqobile says their design outlook is global. They love staying connected to key industry trends, drawing inspiration from the sophisticated and contemporary designs – whether from Italy or the east or the US – and then making it relatable to the African context. Their touch is elegant and sophisticated, and love creating the unexpected, pushing possibilities and challenging their team to think out of the box.  They call it the MAD way.

Some of their most recent projects are for KPMG in uMhlanga, the new popular restaurant “Wish on Florida” in Morningside, the new NPC Intercement office space in uMhlanga, ISON BPO Experiences new call centre in uMhlanga. Their recent residential projects have been in Sheffield Beach, Balitto, La Mercy and even in Carlswald Estate in Midrand where they built a log staircase feature for the millionaire client.

The KPMG project was particularly interesting, recalled Mholi, as the exterior shape of the building with it’s curves and fluid forms meant the interior architecture had to reflect the design language of the outside envelope. “We were intentional even with the way we designed the internal finishes and furniture, adapting the form of the building”, said Mholi. “In general when we design, we like to push boundaries and infuse a bit of our MAD.”

Despite their success, they say that getting access into the industry remains difficult, even with their qualifications and capabilities. “We believe that we have shown, and continue to show, that black designers can deliver with excellence,” they said, adding that their time for sitting on the sidelines was over and are looking to grow sustainably.

They hope to inspire and be a beacon of hope for other up-and-coming designers, regardless of colour.

And certainly their faith keeps them standing despite the challenges.

“Creativity runs through us. It’s in our blood. We sleep, envision a design and then sketch it out: we feel God at work when we design and we believe that this is our calling,” they beamed.

BLOB: Connect with MAD Design Studios on Instagram and Facebook at @maddesignstudiosza. To learn more about their services, visit


For interviews and enquiries, contact Tankiso Moshoeshoe on 0827876987/0670519941 or email:

Caption for images: Innovative and dynamic husband-and-wife creative team interior designer and architect Nqobile and Mholi Mthembu who will showcase at the Decorex Africa show from March 19-22, 2020.

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