The BLIMP has landed.

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100% Design South Africa took place last weekend, at Gallagher Convention Centre, where local and international exhibitors showcased their innovative products and solutions to both the trade and public.

100%Design Expo

Raw Studios’ eye-catching 3m high Co-space, created more than ample interest. It enticed interesting, fresh and, sometimes down-right bizarre visitor engagement. The visually inspiring, Co-space with colourful splashes of thought-provoking elements, was designed and produced on-site, at their Pretoria studio workshop.

Raw Studios’ proud team of experts pushed digital fabrication boundaries, creating a next-generation solution for the modern work life. It was made using CNC technology and environmentally responsible materials.

Peet van Straaten, owner of Raw Studios, commented, that the concept of the Co-space was to activate a transitional, open space, encouraging interaction and conversation. “We wanted to emphasise that the nature of work, as well as its environment, is changing and that employees will ultimately be the force driving the revolution towards more flexibility and responsiveness.”

Openplan layout with no work-life balance was part of the old rules. Employees no longer work solely at their workstations, but rather also at home, on the move, as well as in other spaces within the office environment itself. New rules require that employees have more flexibility and interconnectedness. There is an evident need for  different types of spaces for the different types of vocations. Considered and connected employees become brand ambassadors and will be the greatest of assets if cared for and recognised by employers. These new rules in the work life environment were explored at Raw’s Co-space stand for all to observe and absorb.

The message was clear. Raw Studios provides flexible, collaborative, workspace and Co-space solutions for the modern, digitally evolving business of tomorrow.

Click here to read our previous blog about worklife.


Spoiler alert…now for the good stuff. Get your popcorn ready.



The BLIMP is on the move

Raw Studios has decided that this is only the beginning for The BLIMP. Yes every BoxOffice-hit should have a star, followed by a roadshow of course.

Peet adds: “What started out as a raw concept, a way to invite the spectator into our world, is evolving into something with a lot of possibility and potential.”

It’s official. The BLIMP has arrived in the Built Environment Centre (BEC) on Fox street, in the Maboneng Precinct, and will be residing there for a few weeks, before moving to the next exciting environment, the idea being to travel all around Gauteng!

Blimp BEC

Raw Studios recently provided the BEC with office- and meeting-room furniture, as well as Hot-desking items -all tuned to motivating collaboration and connection in the ever-evolving worklife of tomorrow. This is the opportune platform to introduce these new product ranges, as well as a space in which to engage with fellow industry partners.

Victoria Stephens, Executive Manager of GIfA says:  “GIfA partnered with Legrand Concept Store to move into 274 Fox street, Maboneng in May 2015, to open the BEC. The purpose of this initiative is to promote the built environment and create awareness of architecture, whilst serving our members’ interests. The BEC aims to provide post-graduates, graduates and industry professionals with the resources needed to trade and effectively operate their businesses. The Built Environment enables them to network and collaborate as well as providing industry expertise, meeting facilities, equipment and advisory services.”

This is a Raw Studios’ call-out to all those industry junkies, designers, forward-thinking business folk, executives and inspired students, to come and engage at the BLIMP.

The official opening of the BEC will be announced soon. Naturally you are invited and who knows, maybe we’ll even throw in a VIP ticket, just because that’s how we roll.

Until next time. Raw getting real.

#blimp #nextstep #rawstudios #worklife #pretoria #co-space #digitaloffice

Information about GIfA and the BEC:

Raw to talk worklife at 100% Design Show this year

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Each year, when debating whether or not to be part of the 100% Design expo Raw Studios looks inward, and contemplates their situation: what does one present to the public, what does one say, who are we? This year, there is no new product range per se on show, but rather an attitude, an important image-making and brand-reappraisal. Why is this so? Because Raw is not just about making high quality, cost-effective, durable, elegant and environmentally-responsible office furniture, but it is also about facilitating the spaces for creative thinking, about innovating these spaces and designing solutions to suit the evolving worklife.

The stand, this year, is therefore an activation, an in-between space, a transitional piece between furniture and walls. Less product and more interaction with the public; the start of a longer dialogue, perhaps. It is a large, slightly curvaceous, engineered structure, a wave series of frames – there will be some products on display,but the stand itself is the showcase, the eye-catcher. It is on a larger scale for Raw Studios and indicates the new direction of more spatial constructions, alongside the well-proven product range. Come and see it for yourself at the 100%Design Expo, Stand D30, from 6-10 August and experience this worklife ethos.


The nature of work and the workplace has been evolving, blurring the line between work and home life. Work is becoming flexible, mobile and changeable, while the place of work is expected to be healthier, brighter and more co-worker-centred. More considered and responsive worklife environments are emerging.

Raw was born to cater for this more vibrant, healthier and more inclusive world. Customers, and workers alike, are seeking greater transparency, authenticity and environmental awareness, in an increasingly complicated world. Simplicity, durability, resilience and integrity are crucial components in response to this. Raw works with non-toxic, durable materials, designs (re)configurable ergonomic systems and details, and most of all, delivers finely crafted cost-effective products.

Interconnectedness, quality, consideration and configurability, in an adaptable and more sensitised world of meaningful employment demands a product range and system thinking that creates the suitable spaces and enriches this more layered worklife.

Invitation and announcement for 100%Design

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

New oH!Two™ Chair and Table range ready to conquer the world!

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The difficult second chair.

New oH!Two™ Chair from RAW

Chairs are notoriously difficult to design. Especially after the success of our first chair, the second one seems to will one to fail, but after two years in concept form and three months of prototyping and development, Raw Studios is proud to announce that the first production run on our newest chair and table range is well underway. Clients can look forward to a whole lot of fun, and yes, some serious work from these quirky newcomers.

New oH!Two™ Chair from RAW

Says Peet regarding the look and feel of the range “I tried to create something that triggers an emotional response with people when they see it for the first time. You know that pleasant feeling that this is a shape or form you recognize from your childhood, from a varsity cafeteria or some such place where hardworking furniture does its thing without a big fuss.”

The low fuss factor is only skin deep though as this range includes a bunch of innovations and improvements, on our previous range of chairs. These include a laser cut and precision CNC bent steel component and although we are not completely new to using steel to solve some of the more industrially strong requirements of workplace and retail environments, we feel that the way in which it was utilized, to solve several of the usual construction and rigidity issues associated with chairs all in one clever little component has, for us at least, opened up a whole lot of options for future design solutions.

 a laser cut and precision CNC bent steel component

Seat and back shape development

Consequent to the use of a steel component we have been able to bring the amount of plywood used down to a ridiculous minimum, so much so that we now cut enough parts for 12 chairs from a standard sheet of birch plywood. This did come with a slight payoff in the form of two of the parts having to have to be cut on at least a five axis machine into a 3 dimensional part. Enter the latest young lady to grace our workshop floor, and no, our tea-lady doesn’t cut our parts with a jigsaw in between tea breaks. Her name is KUKA and she is a little easier to talk to than our previous, slightly ancient, robot arm and the perfect compliment to our new “can do anything” prototyping environment.

New oH!Two™ Table and Chair from RAW

New oH!Two™ Table from RAWSo, combine some simple plywood parts, precision steel bits in several colour options, locally manufactured bent plywood seat and back also available in many different materials, put a lot of design soul and a little bit of nostalgia into the mix and you get something really special judging from the overwhelmingly positive responses we have had during preview sessions with our most valued project clients. Best of all the product can ship completely flat packed. For the first time we have been able to achieve this so completely. Once the range has won local hearts and minds, the next step will be global domination.

First we take Gauteng, then the world! (Insert evil laugh here).

New oH!Two™ Table  from RAW

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.



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.

The Offis™ will never be the same again.


Offis™ System
The new collaborative, connected workplace is not only about redefining our mind-set about what furniture we need and how our space needs to be reconfigured to be effective. It also requires a new appraisal of how people and technology interact for the benefit of employer and employee. The technology revolution offers new potential that will require all of us to embrace flexibility to change how we work and collaborate.

We have taken what we have learnt about office spaces over the last 10 years and translated this into the system that we use in our own office. Beautifully designed in the trademark Raw Studios look and feel, ergonomic, affordable and practical, the system addresses the more traditional functions and layouts present in office environments, as well as cutting-edge thinking around mobile and highly connected modern office environments. This includes hot-desking and the very necessary flexible-use space between and around traditional workspaces.

Raw Studios is proud to officially launch our new office system, named Offis™ at 100% Design South Africa 2014 from 6-10 August.100% Design South Africa 2014 from 6-10 August.

Visiting our stand, you will find solutions that are the result of years of development, research and consultation with our clients and the public, addressing four main space applications that we have identified, with their respective creative solutions. These include:

Collaborative space: Including formal and informal meeting spaces, brainstorm and activation or fun spaces.

Quiet space: This consists mainly of open workstations and fixed or mobile storage areas. Screened sufficiently for employees to do focused work, but also open enough to promote interaction with colleagues.

Private space: Traditionally referred to as a closed office or highly-screened private cubicle, these spaces nowadays are used more when an executive or sensitive workspace is required.

Co-space: On the cutting edge of contemporary office space planning are the crossover spaces, which are purposefully scattered in and amongst the quiet and collaborative spaces. Allowing employees to mingle in a professional and social way can inspire creativity and create opportunities for collaboration and unplanned meetings that can add value to the business. These spaces increase knowledge sharing, build a sense of community and improve employee satisfaction and retention. They typically include multi-functional, semi-private pods, soft furnishings alongside normal office task chairs and discussion tables, ottomans and mobile laptop tables

With so many size and configuration choices, we are convinced that Offis™ will inject a breath of fresh air into office spaces everywhere!

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.

We now offer training in design and manufacture using CNC technology.


We recently welcomed a group of students from the Interior Architecture course at the University of Pretoria into our workshop. They were given an object to design and after a week ended up with a full scale working prototype. The course was aimed to help the students gain an understanding of the processes and methodologies present in the manufacturing environment. If the manufacturing process and the restrictions and/or opportunities thereof is better understood one can make more informed decisions during the design process. We intend to extend this course to professional creatives in the architecture, interior design, product design and engineering industries in the near future.

The training started with an introduction to engineered timber (specifically Finnish Birch plywood), design tactics for CNC router cutters, methods of joinery and a discussion of finishing processes. The students were then given a brief to design a trolley that is suitable for an outdoor market. They conceptualised their designs and presented them the next day. Design discussions and laser cut scale models gave the students a chance to engage with the problem. Soon enough the designs were looking promising and we cut four working prototypes of a quite sophisticated stature.

Prototyping is a means to test and refine a design in terms of function, material performance and aesthetics before production.

The response was overwhelmingly positive from all involved.

Raw is almost famous.

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Film Crews at Raw Studios

Raw has recently been host to two film crews wanting to find out more about the what’s and the how’s of our business. First up was a crew from Kyknet’s breakfast show called Dagbreek. Raw has also supplied all the furniture for their studio set, so our products can now be seen frequenting the early morning airwaves. Their insert on the show can be seen here:

A crew from Distel’s Fine Brandy By Design Brand was next as part of a bar design competition that Raw was chosen for. Distel is aiming to “Hipify” their brandies to appeal to a younger market and this competition forms part of that campaign. Their clip can be seen here: