We’ll say this with certainty: there isn’t an SA company doing more for local designers than Nando’s. For the past few years, the home of peri-peri chicken has been enlisting the services of SA furniture designers, interior designers and artists to kit out all of its many restaurants across the country. In doing this, the brand is giving a cornucopia of local creative types a much-needed leg-up. It’s also doing its bit to ensure the lemon and herb pita-eating public is clued up about what indigenous design is all about.

Two of Nando’s brand-new projects, launched in two vastly different spots — Joburg’s faux-Tuscan Montecasino and the small town of Bethal in Mpumalanga — prove the point.

Nando’s Montecasino.. Picture: SUPPLIED
Nando’s Montecasino.. Picture: SUPPLIED

Durban design outfit GIH Studio did the interiors of the Bethal store. Its founder, Gareth Henderson, says of the project: "Nando’s is educating the public about design and its value — and showing that we can totally compete on an international level. Even if you’re popping into a small takeaway space like the one we created, you’re still being exposed to cool stuff."

Andrea Kleinloog of Hesse Kleinloog Studio, who magicked up the sophisticated Montecasino space, agrees. "Nando’s is absolutely changing the game," she says.

Next time you’re in a Nando’s store, take note — everything you see, from the wall tiles to the lighting, has been imagined and made by homegrown talent.