Nandos and Raw in hot, hot, hot Combo.

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When the South African success story, Nandos, decided to revamp its spiritual home in Lorentzville Johannesburg, where it started trading over two decades ago, it was bound to be anything but a
run-of-the-mill project.

Nandos Central kitchen project / home in Lorentzville Johannesburg

The brief was a collaboration with industry veteran, Tracy Lynch, who curated the relationship between Nandos and exceptional South African designer/makers. Rather than a design showcase, it focused on creating a hard-working space for a large workforce, they themselves articulating a unique and authentic ZAesthetic, true to the feisty Nandos’ spirit.

Nandos home in Lorentzville Johannesburg

There followed an exceptional year of conceptualising, liaising, communicating, collaborating, producing and delivering. This culminated, near the end of 2014, in the launch of Central Kitchen, an expansive, interconnected campus of seven buildings.

Nandos home in Lorentzville Johannesburg

Originally approached to supply the, now famous, Ikonik and Klik system products, Raw Studios presented a mock-up of the Offis™ system. The clients were won over by the superior combination of quality, ruggedness, real design, and the honest price tag; and so, the contract for the complete office workstation and storage solution was awarded to Raw – a contract second in value only to that of the main contractor.

Nandos home in Lorentzville Johannesburg

In addition to the main office furniture component, Raw studios, amongst others, also supplied chairs, discussion- and training-tables.

Additional orders have been rolling in since the end of the project. On top of this, Raw have now also been included in the prestigious Nandos’ Design Collection, one of only five companies nationwide. This further strengthens an already inspiring and powerful relationship between the two companies. See our next blog > new chair.

The Central kitchen project will undoubtedly be appreciated as an historical and pivotal South African creative collaboration and Raw Studios is proud to have had a significant role to play.

Nandos Central kitchen project

UP Students Rock the Raw once again: 2015

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In mid-July, Raw Studios hosted a week long collaborative workshop with twelve students from the University of Pretoria. The brief focused on the design solutions for the typology, “Micro-housing”, using Raw Studio’s signature technology: CNC cutting and jointing of birch plywood into designed ergonomic systems.

CNC Cutting

The goal of the workshop is to expose young designers to the practice of prototyping and hands-on engagement, guided by pioneers in the field It is Raw’s intention to expand this approach to include professional architects and designers alike, encouraging prototype-making as an innovative form of the design process.

CNC. Encouraging prototype-making as an innovative form of the design process

The students of the interior design and architecture programmes worked in groups under guidance from Peet van Straaten (Raw), Thys Kotze (Raw) and Bafana Mazibuko (Raw), European micro-living designers, the Mobiators, Geert Hutsebaut and Calanne Moroney, and University of Pretoria lecturers, Elana Van der Watt and Johan Swart. Students participated in the workshop voluntarily, resulting in a cross-sectional group of dedicated and determined individuals. They spent three weekdays in the studio, with the rest of the time at the workshop in Boschkop, camping a couple of nights on site.

Practice of prototyping and hands-on engagement

The workshop briefing day consisted of a series of inspiring, informative talks, from Raw Studios and from the Mobiators. Raw presented an outline of the studio’s work, the mind-set of designing for flexibility, CNC technology, material, optimised detailing, followed by a surprisingly enthralling demonstration of CNC cutting.

Raw presented an outline of the studio's work, the mind-set of designing for flexibility, CNC technology, material, optimised detailing, followed by a surprisingly enthralling demonstration of CNC cutting

The Mobiators spoke of their own micro-house experiences in the Netherlands, and the growing societal awareness and need for de-cluttering, downsizing and self-sufficiency. They gave insight into the lifestyle it offered, the benefits of living “micro” and the shortcomings they experienced and predicted.

A storage floor system for a three-sectioned table

In three groups of four, the students devised an approach to the interior of a micro-house, and a proposed solution to investigate. Over the course of the week, they worked towards a tangible detail/section of the proposal. This resulted in three diverse pieces of research – a storage floor system for a three-sectioned table, a single bed/double bed storage solution, and a free-standing multiple configuration piece. All three proposals dealt with storage, flexibility and maximising small spaces by layering and interlocking of functions. By the end of the week, all three groups had produced drawings, maquettes using cardboard or laser-cut 4mm plywood and fabricated sections of their proposal using the CNC cutter.

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The work produced was impressive given the time and stimulated many intriguing discussions on the science of micro-living, realistic design solutions and lifestyle choices. It will be presented in the gallery at the Boukunde (architecture) department in September.

While the workshop was undoubtedly a valuable experience for the students involved, it was equally stimulating for Peet van Straaten and his micro-living enthusiasts from Europe, currently staying in Boschkop to collaborate on the development of a Raw micro-house product. The week provided much food for thought and instigated the launch of an interesting design process, as well as a new, scaled-up direction for Raw Studios.

They spent three weekdays in the studio, with the rest of the time at the workshop in Boschkop, camping a couple of nights on site.

RAW-licious cafe feeds the design shoppers hunger with Decorex and House and Leisure.

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All furniture supplied by RAW Studios

The RAW-licious Cafe: Decorex Joburg 7 – 11 August 2013

The RAW-licious Cafe is the trendy place to go for organic offerings such as soups, salads, and wraps. All furniture supplied by RAW Studios.

Raw Studios has a delicious side that we are proud to be able to show in collaboration with Decorex Joburg 2013. This year, Hall 5 will host the RAW-licious Cafe earmarked to offer a happy place for shoppers to find a moment of respite in a space that nurtures and stimulates a sense of wellbeing. This will be the first concept restaurant that Raw Studios will be furnishing in an exhibition space. The idea is to furnish a restaurant space with Raw Studios furniture and objects, drawing on our products’ soft and calming aesthetic to create a peaceful space for shoppers to take a break in. Remember to come find your Bliss at RAW-licious Cafe Decorex Joburg 2013. Our Ikonik woodlockers can also be seen at House And Leisure’s interactive stand.


Learn how to collaborate with us (part 1).

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First in the series of Raw Studios ”How To” docs.

We often get asked the following question: How can we contact you and make use of your expertise and capabilities on our projects?

The contact part is the easy bit, but its the interaction (with Raw and other service providers) and the process stages followed before and during the project that is daunting to most clients. They have questions and concerns that makes them hesitate in the process and unsure of the outcome.

With this blog and a couple more over the coming newsletters, I would like to explain these steps, and also shed some light on what exactly we would expect from you and what you can expect form us.

The Structure will be loosely based on the Design Council’s Double Diamond model, with additional supporting strategies from other models.

For a start let look at the four big stages and briefly what each stage entail.

The four big stages model

Stage 1: Discovery (initiation). “1st quarter”
Although not necessarily the start of the project, this is the stage where you as the client gets your ideas and inspiration. In some instances we are not even involved yet.

Stage 2: Define. “2nd quarter”
In the definition stage you will clarify your concepts and identify your objectives and goals for the project. This is where you define the project brief.

Stage 3: Develop. “3rd quarter”
The development stage can also be called the problem solving stage. If you need expert advice from other disciplines, this is the last stage where such experts can be brought in. Its here where all the ironing out of problems and refining of aesthetics happen.

Stage 4: Delivery. “4th quarter”
Here we will have the project or product ready for final approval, and scheduled to be launched. If it is a site-based project, this is where we will go on to site for installation.

Next time we will be focusing on the initial idea and conceptualization of that idea.

Double take at Decorex JHB 2012

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We have two collaborations going at Decorex Johannesburg 2012. “Decorex Designer collection with Raw Studios” was initiated by Decorex itself to bring some of the coolest designers and craftsmen’s work to the public’s attention, and Raw Studios was asked to ‘house’ them using our popular Ikonik™ woodlockers. Ikonik™ is our take on the traditional steel locker, produced exclusively from Finnish Birch Plywood (even the hinges) and as the name suggests, it has become a very popular must-have object to the public.

“Decorex Designer collection with Raw Studios” can be found in Hall 5, stand E77 and an absolute ‘must visit’ whatever you do this year at Decorex. The exhibition runs from 8-12 August 2012 and you stand the chance of winning a Raw Standup™ laptop stand if you swing by to enter. Standup™, the laptop stand you can hardly do without, is also on sale at the stand.



PIA – Pretoria Institute for Architects – was the first to adopt our (still under development) klik FS system as they don’t mind being guinea pigs for innovation. We kitted out their stand at the Green Building Expo in July and now again at Decorex Jhb. “It looks fantastic and works even better than expected” were the comments from PIA management and the public at the Green Building Expo. We are sure it will be a hit once again at Decorex. Visit the PIA at Stand G11 in Hall 2 as they exhibit the best that South African Architecture has to offer. Raw and PIA will continue to collaborate throughout the year on expos and the like..





DECOREX JOBURG 2011 AWARD
Most Innovative Product
Winner: RAW™ Studios

“Each of the products of RAW Studios’ stand can be considered for an innovation award. From the Toasti heater to the new line of office furniture- RAW Studios is the design force to watch. That’s why the judges decided to award RAW Studios’ whole portfolio of products with the award for the most innovative on show. The stand clearly mirrors the RAW design philosophy: well detailed, but nothing superfluous. Everything has a purpose.” Decorex Jury

We eat concepts for breakfast

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RAW Earthworld FNB CollaborationAndre Eksteen from Earthworld Architects loves designing furniture but as he runs a busy architectural and interior practice, there never seems to be enough time to realize this passion. That is where Raw Studios comes into the picture, as we have successfully collaborated with the Earthworld team on several occasions. The latest was working together on several concepts they created for the FNB premier banking office space solutions. These are far from traditional office systems and reflect the progressive thinking that is already well known from FNB. Almost reminiscent of the Google workplace, it is open plan, and very feel good, with equal amounts of seriousness and fun. There are Hot desking units that wrap around the users and collaborative plug and play creativity inducing areas that address mobile users’ needs, and team coloured whiteboards for the Premier teams’ brainstorming sessions.

Raw Studios developed these concepts into actual products for Earthworld and supplied these directly to FNB. The response has been very positive. Creating products from highly conceptual ideas is a great challenge and sometimes a hard journey of testing and discovery, with all the accompanying highs and lows of such a process. But that’s just how we do the thing we do.


Plywood radios on a mission

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Raw designed and produced plywood-clad radios used as promotional items for ICR, a pirate radio station in Joburg central. At a recent ICR event in Melville these sweet little radios were all the rage as fans clamoured to get their paws on the object. Marketing brainchild of Joao Orecchia, one of the founding members of ICR, the radios were conceived to promote ICR and their mission:


“ICR or Invisible Cities Pirate Radio is an alternative to mainstream radio in Johannesburg. It is a place for artists and experiments. A place to talk about our city”

“At once super-local and super-international, ICR reaches all of the Johannesburg city centre, Newtown and Braamfontein via the airwaves on 102.2 fm, and the rest of the world via live stream.”