Louise Marsland (@Louise_Marsland)’s weekly pick of recent product, packaging and design launches:

  • Latest furniture design trends from Cologne
  • Spicing things up in the kitchen
  • Is nailing a product to a wall actually art?
  • The sweet smell of success

Latest furniture design trends

Cologne furniture trends as spotted by Woodbender

Recent furniture design trends at the famous Cologne Fair are described as “delicate” and in line with market needs for smaller, compact furniture. Woodbender, a solid bentwood furniture manufacturer in South Africa, was one of four manufacturers representing South Africa at IMM Cologne, which is host to Europe’s leading furniture designers and manufacturers annually.

Woodbender director, Shirley Mast, reports: “There were interesting differences in European market preferences in terms of furniture size and colour. Europeans prefer and require, for space reasons, smaller furniture, whereas South Africans choose furniture that is larger in terms of footprint and seat.

“The colour preferences of the furniture also differ between the markets, with Europe preferring light timber finishes whilst the South Africans largely go for the darker walnuts, mahoganies and ebonies. The level of perfection and attention to detail was incredible. The upholstery was simple and used in a way to emphasise the furniture. There were no patterns or prints used, only subtle textures.”

According to Mast, the colours confirm the Dulux 2014 forecast and consist of dirty pastel blues, greens, mustards and apricots, acid yellow, purple and blue, as well as warm neutrals, beiges and grey, with copper still popular, plus black and white.

Spice up your dinner

Spice and All Things Nice: Indian Butter Chicken Curry Kit Spice and All Things Nice: Thai Green Curry Kit
Cape Town-based spice product factory, Spice and All Things Nice, now includes curry kits in its range of products, enabling anyone to make a curry meal.

Founder and director, Gillian Downes, says it’s all about convenience: “I wanted to put all of the curry components that we make into one solution, ie curry paste, rice and poppadums in one box to make it easier for the consumer.”

All customers need to add is their meat and coconut milk or cream and their curry (serving four) is ready in 15 minutes. A proud Downes hopes it will become a bestseller in her range, just like her poppadums, couscous, curry pastes and Bircher Muesli.

The curry kits are currently available at the larger Pick n Pay stores in the Western Cape and will be rolled out nationally at Spar, Dischem and Checkers, and will also be available at Wellness Warehouse in Cape Town. The launch will be supported by editorial and in-store demos.

Is it art?

Cape Town Art Fair ‘A Low Hanging Fruit’ by Mitchell Gilbert MessinaCape Town Art Fair caption

At the recent Cape Town Art Fair, artist Mitchell Gilbert Messina nailed a Pattex ‘No more nails’ tube of glue to the wall of the art exhibition with the title, ‘A Low Hanging Fruit’.

Funny, ha ha. But with a price tag of R1000 incl VAT? That’s a real joke!

In comment from the artist, he describes it as: “The easiest work I ever made.”

I get the irony but is it art?

The sweet smell of success

Now this is an activation which I think should be implemented nationwide: in order to publicise Tuffy’s scented bin liners which help disguise bad odours, Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa took the smelliest thing it could find — a garbage truck — and gave it a “sweet makeover” to illustrate the point. In graphic detail.

I wonder how many people thought it was an actual ice cream truck?!

The dump truck was cleaned and decorated in candy-striped vinyl, with a larger-than-life ‘melted’ ice cream sculpture on the top. Completing the picture was the traditional plink-plonk music of a traditional ice cream van coming from a well-positioned loudspeaker.

The activation took five months from planning to concept and implementation, and seven days to dress the truck and create the sculpture. The truck was then driven around Cape Town.

Tuffy Brands marketing director, Rory Murray, comments: “We love that our brand has the ability to be playful and have fun, while still communicating this product’s obvious benefit.”

I think all garbage trucks should be made to look so pretty; it would be a vast improvement. And, as to scented bin liners, they are definitely useful in disguising bad odours for at least a while — I use them as nappy bags for my toddler!


Louise MarslandShelf Life by Louise Marsland is a weekly column on MarkLives. Tweet new product, packaging and design launches to @louise_marsland or email her at louise.marsland at Want to sponsor Shelf Life? Contact us here.

Louise has written about the FMCG, media, marketing and advertising industry for 19 of her more-than-25-year career as a former editor of magazines AdVantage, Marketing Mix and Progressive Retailing, as well as websites and FMCGFiles. She currently edits the weekly Wednesday Media & Marketing Page for The New Age newspaper and is the publishing editor of industry trendwatching portal, TRENDAFRiCA, for consumer insight, research and trends in Africa.

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