Local furniture design brand Dark Horse can now be found in prominent retailer @home, thanks to a collaboration facilitated by CloutSA, a design-focused enterprise and business-to-business market maker.
A capsule collection of five signature designer furniture pieces from Dark Horse is available for sale from @home. This includes the Dark Horse Saville chair, which is made from leather off-cuts stitched together into a 31-metre-long narrow strip, which then gets hand woven to create the dining chair.
Other pieces in the collection include Dark Horse’s 3-seater Boss couch and Boss armchair, both of which are made of leather and a steel frame, reflecting the brand’s “bold yet refined” design aesthetic. The Oso and the Rosso dining chairs, also made of leather and steel, also form part of the capsule.
Dark Horse was co-founded 11 years by husband and wife team Jarrad and Lise Nelson in their small Cape Town apartment. Today, the business has its own warehouse premises in the city’s Paarden Eiland industrial district and creates employment for an ever-growing number of people.
“When you buy a local product, there’s a trickle-down effect. The money that you spend goes back into the economy in a variety of ways, and all the people who contribute to the making of the product get the benefit of that spend. You not only get this amazing product that’s quite unique, you are also truly stimulating the local economy,” says Jarrad.
Commenting on the brand’s design approach, he adds, “Our design philosophy is about bringing people closer together, so with everything we do we want to build memories through the use of our furniture and have those pieces available for the next generation as well. This is why we use hard-wearing materials that can last this generation and the next.”
Connecting designers with corporates
The Dark Horse project with @home is the latest among numerous collaborations facilitated by CloutSA, which has worked to link South African furniture and lighting designers with corporate entities.
Among Clout’s best-known projects is the Nando’s Hot Young Designer talent search, as well as the Nando’s Design Programme, which has facilitated sales of over R80m of local furniture and lighting design to global markets since its official launch in 2018.
“The collab with @home is quite an exciting story. We’ve worked with CloutSA in the past, and their team knew our look and feel and what we’re capable of. They included us in a presentation to @home to say, ‘if you want to go on a journey of local design, these guys should be a part of that conversation’,” says Jarrad.