CapeTalk

Makeka Design Lab

Biography

The South African public are constantly told that nation building is the responsibility of every citizen, but few take the concept of building as literally as Mokena Makeka, whose ambition is to change the architectural landscape of our cities. He says that he believes that design has a direct impact on social health, wellbeing and identity, which is why his company, Makeka Design Lab, trades on being nimble, thoughtful and providing unique solutions to unique problems. “We design exhibitions, interiors, architecture, urban development and even furniture and art pieces for the public. What sets us apart is our attention to detail, and the fact that our work is innovative and thoughtful. Design psychology is factored in when creating solutions to complex functional and social challenges,” says Mokena. He explains that Makeka specialises in making memorable projects and in unpacking and addressing the problem beyond what the customer typically sees. Delight, cost and functionality are given equal attention in the work that is done and it is always designed for long term value and quality. He adds that it is important to analyse clients’ needs and not simply deliver cut-and-paste work. “All of our work is different because our clients are different, and because we care about the life of the architecture, for future generations.” Looking forward, Makeka says his initial focus is on diversifying and strengthening the company’s impact and interest in furniture design. “I also plan to create a presence in the residential market and consolidate our skills in respect of public buildings. The end goal is to deliver projects beyond the borders of South Africa. I believe that by bringing fresh ideas and a passion to balance profit, meaning, identity, aesthetics and ethical buildings, I will achieve my ultimate ambition of having an architectural footprint in every continent, before I turn 50.”

On-air Interview