Thanda Fabric Collection: Ardmore’s most personal range yet
The Thanda Collection beautifully embodies the love story of Ardmore founder Fée Halsted Berning’s son Jonathan and his wife, Kate, referencing many of the events of their much-anticipated wedding at Thanda Game Lodge in December 2020. The stars aligned when the wedding occurred during a brief respite in countrywide COVID-19 lockdowns in South Africa. The pandemic had torn many apart, but over those few precious days of the wedding celebrations, the wider Ardmore family gathered under kiepersol trees and weaver nests, and enjoyed stunning African sunsets, while raising a toast to family, friendship and most importantly, love. Just as “thanda” means “love” in isiZulu, so the Thanda fabric collection lovingly immortalises all these experiences.
Our Safari Spot textile design is inspired by Kate’s 30th birthday celebration, which took place on the first day of the wedding weekend, and where guests sported leopard-print designs to reflect the event’s “Wild Side” theme.
Throughout the wedding weekend, there was time set aside to enjoy watching the wildlife. Sightings of elephants, warthogs, giraffes and crowned cranes among the candelabra ficus and kiepersol trees prompted the creation of our new Thanda Toile fabric design.
Our wedding guests enjoyed many cocktails at the “watering hole”, where the branches of the Acacia karroo thorn trees were bending under the weight of weaver nests. During the African summer, the male weaver bird works industriously, weaving many nests until his female partner decides to accept one as a suitable home in which to raise a family. Just as weavers get busy building intricate grass nests for their chosen mates, so too did it feel like Jonathan was preparing for his marital home, and the Thanda Nests fabric is designed to memorialise this sentimental and homely scene.
Curious creatures – including a stalking leopard, graceful kudu and a shy zebra – peek out from behind spiky aloes and an enlarged wild gardenia in our Pangolin Park fabric design. The Ardmore Artists found the endangered pangolin to be the perfect symbol of the vulnerability and need for safety we were all feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic. In African culture, the pangolin is revered by royalty and symbolises protection, which is why it was chosen to be the centrepiece of our Pangolin Park textile design.
A final part of the COVID-19 pandemic experience is captured in the powerfully symbolic Thanda Tortoise fabric, which is inspired by the leopard tortoise’s beautifully patterned shell. The allusion to tortoises helps capture the feeling of slow and tentative steps taken to leave our protective “cocoons” and carefully reintegrate ourselves back into the world.
Every Ardmore creation is made with love, and our limited-edition Thanda Sofa is no exception to this rule. The matt black linen fabric and Pangolin Park design combine to create a unique statement piece, which combines contemporary French styling and African design elements. Only 40 examples of this remarkable piece of furniture will be made, making it a collector’s item as rare as true love itself.