Designer Introduction : Cabo Design

Our collection of stoneware ceramics with charcoal protea and dandelion prints are by far our most popular products and it is easy to see why! These botanically inspired ceramics and bamboo products are the perfect example of good design.

Cabo Design was launched in 2013 and has quickly grown into a productive lifestyle project for owner, Mariaan van Zyl. We recently caught up with Mariaan to learn more about Cabo and their unique range.


How long has Cabo Design been up and running, and what prompted you to start the business?

Cabo started in 2013 as a collaboration between myself and an architect friend who has since left the company.  I’m now the sole owner of Cabo.  I’m an interior designer by trade and have always enjoyed making and producing beautiful “stuff”.  After completing my Interior Design diploma I studied jewellery manufacturing part-time, then also did a bit of ceramics (hand building) for fun.  The idea for Cabo was born while on maternity leave with my son and I needed to do something creative other than being a new mom! I did a bit of painting on bisque ware that I bought and started exploring and experimenting with transfers.

Tell us a bit about your products? 

The ceramics are all handmade in Cape Town, South Africa in a factory that only employs women.  1st process is to make the stoneware bisque item which is done by using a mould to insure that designs are consistent.  Once ready each item is dip-glazed in the matt white (or sometimes matt black) glaze after which it will go into the kiln for a 1st round of firing.  When the items come out they are then ready for the transfer to be applied.  The transfer is the protea or dandelion images that you find on the Cabo ranges.  After the application the items are fired again. Having to do rounds of firing makes the production lead time slightly longer.


What is your design inspiration?

My design style in both my interior design work and with Cabo has always been simple and uncomplicated. Although I prefer straight lines, I take inspiration from the nature and surroundings here in Cape Town to create designs.

What is your favourite piece from your collection?

I think each new piece that comes out of the kiln! 🙂  I really do like the shape of the Jugs and have all sorts of samples on my desk usually filled with flowers.



When you’re not busy designing your ceramics, what will we find you doing?

Dreaming about a new design or something to make – whether it is a leather pouch or jewellery or a blanket castle for my 5 year old!  He got so excited the other day when I made a pin board for his school art that he got completely carried away and made “pretty drawings” form mommy all over his walls…  I also love spending time with my friends and having a special glass of wine.  We recently bought a new house straight out of the ’70s show so my husband and I are spending most weekends renovating.

What do you feel makes Cabo Design unique?

The use of only matt glazes and the monochrome colour scheme. The King Protea is special and unique to South Africa and will always be close to my heart.


You can find the Cabo Design range in our Kitchen and Tableware section which include their gorgeous mugs, cups, tea sets, jugs, salad and pate bowls.

Michelle xx



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