Deon de Lange’s interest in design started when he was younger and discovered his passion for making creative items that can be resold.
He initially started helping his mom make and sell candles to people in his community. The Melville resident said that is how he realised that you can make anything with your hands and start your own business.
“As I went along, I began to extend the items I designed using ceramics, by learning how to make moulds and sculpting them myself as a means to do things differently. I started experimenting and perfected my mix by creating something that is fine enough to make smaller pieces that are durable. I do not create something that I do not believe in and, in terms of ornaments, I create items I would like to see in my own home too.”
De Lange now operates from 27 Boxes in Melville and has been there for over a year. A conversation with a friend led him to make jewellery out of concrete. He said he established his business called Concrete Jungle in 2012 from home and started selling off his pieces at markets around Johannesburg and eventually internationally in Italy, France and America.
The designer added that he has a history of helping non-profit organisations such as the Bafokeng Craft Centre in Rustenburg and the European Union. He taught people from disadvantaged communities how to develop products and gave them additional skills in crafts.
“My background in helping people involves also helping various business owners diversify their range and teach them the skills to make things themselves, as opposed to just purchasing them. I currently also sell 12 other crafters’ pieces in my store.”
De Lange uses five steps to bring his beautiful pieces to life:
- Design item digitally
- Print design on 3D printer
- Mould the prototype
- When mould is made from silicone rubber, cast the item
- Add finishing touches.