After years of relying on interior design imports in Namibian shopping centres, Maerua Mall, for the first time, decided to trust a local arts and design team with the aesthetics of its shopping centres during the festive season 2015. Women Unleashed (WU), a home-grown Namibian company lead by Lilian Mundia, Melanie van der Merwe and Anke Klein, is the new name behind the interior layout of Marua Mall and Baines Centre for this year’s Christmas Décor.
Focused on engaging Namibian resources, Maerua Malls’ decision marks a turning point in the celebration of a growing economy that is not only aimed at serving the consumer, but also promoting local skills and a Namibian spirit in the arts and design scene.
Thus WU thrives on principles of sustainability through skill-development and prioritizing environmentally friendly materials, while creating results that are unique in representing the country’s artistic potential. This can be seen in the line of people involved in the inception and production of this year’s Christmas Decoration.
From designer to artist, craftsman and engineer – all stem from the Namibian economy. The material choice is thought through to be as environmentally friendly as possible: the Prosopis (mesquite) tree, an alien invasive species, is utilized as part of the decorative constructs so as to reduce its destructive impact on the environment and optimize its aesthetic potential.
Furthermore, all products used are only sourced from Namibian suppliers, previous items are being recycled, and, if in a good state, remaining materials are allocated back to communities after each season – becoming useful for more than just decorative purposes. Part of Oryx Properties & Maerua Mall’s mission statement is to “develop assets that appreciate in value and produce a dependable, sustainable and growing distribution stream”. By choosing a team of local designers and producers over foreign imports for the first time, a possible foundation has been set for an arts and design culture that may become a further sustainable and unique asset of the Namibian economy.