Kalki Ceramics founder and 2022 HYD winners on the inspiration behind their work

In October 2022, design duo and real life couple, Nikhil Tricam and Nindya Bucktowar, were announced as the winners of the Nando’s Hot Young Designer (HYD) Talent Search at the Basha Uhuru youth festival at Con Hill, Johannesburg
Nindya Bucktowar and Nikhil Tricam at the HYD announcement event at Con Hill

Together, Tricam and Bucktowar are the owners of Kalki Ceramics, a design studio based in Durban specialising in bespoke handcrafted ceramic tiles, which they founded in June 2020. For their winning entry, they looked to South African flora and desert landscapes for inspiration.

Kalki Ceramics’ studio nestled in the lush tropical foliage typical of Kwazulu Natal, epitomises the duo’s love of nature

“The colours that we develop at Kalki Ceramics are often inspired by our experiences of nature… if we go on a hike in nature, the dense forest and the colours that exist there,”

Nindya Bucktowar.

“We enjoy contrasting materials to one another to highlight their inherent characteristics, and to invite people to engage visually and on a tactile basis,”

Nikhil Tricam

Their Fynbos Server draws on the duo’s combined experience in ceramics, product design and architecture to create a rich and textural functional art piece.

“Utilizing Kalki Ceramics tiles in unique glazes reminiscent of fynbos, succulents and flowers endemic to South Africa, the Fynbos Server blends contemporary form with organic materials and motifs to create a uniquely South African design,”

Nikhil Tricam

Being named as winners of the Nando’s HYD 2022 will open up new business opportunities for Tricam and Bucktowar including having their piece prototyped and included on the Nando’s Portal to Africa, an online ordering and purchasing platform utilised by interior design studios locally and globally to source South African designer items to include in Nando’s restaurants around the world. The winners will also receive ongoing mentorship and development support from the Clout/SA team designed to help fast-track their progress in the industry.

The winning entry for Nando’s HYD 2022: The Fynbos server

The Fynbos Server was chosen from over 120 entries into the fourth iteration of the Nando’s HYD competition. The multiphase judging process saw members of the design and creative communities from various countries assess entries over two rounds. The entries were narrowed down to a shortlist of 20, and then edited further to the top 10 finalists, from which the overall winner was chosen. The prestigious panel of 17 local and global industry judges included Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in New York, Ngaire Blankenberg; Sophie Douglas, Director of Fusion Design and Architecture, UK; Paul Thrush, Co-Founder and Director of STAC Architecture, UK; and Karen Brumfield, Head of Buying at @home, and others.

“We do feel that South Africa benefits from a very healthy and very supportive design community. From our earliest days in design people have been have been helpful, people have been willing to support us, people have been willing to share. Nando’s as a platform, or the Hot Young Designer competition as platform, [is] a testament to that,”

Nikhil Tricam.
To view Clout/SA interview the winners, click here
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