February 2024

Around the table – creating soulful moments through conscious design

in Experience
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Around the table – creating soulful moments through conscious design

Our food philosophy is about creating an experience that brings people together to make memories. Sitting around a table in nature – to enjoy nourishing, flavourful meals in good company – feeds the soul as well as the body.

We’ve always held the value of time spent, slowly and leisurely, enjoying consciously prepared food as a sacred and important way to live in the moment. Creating a nurturing dining environment that brings people closer and allows them to connect is an important part of our guest experience.

Our food concept is centred on bringing people together in nature to connect over wholesome and beautiful meals

Continuous connections with Africa

Singita Mara River Tented Camp’s recent redesign included a revamped food concept – but it also included a reimagined approach to the dining spaces themselves. A lighter and more informal atmosphere was created with easy areas to sit in – an updated bar deli, alfresco tables and a casual and social pool area. This was complemented by refreshed menus that celebrate lighter dishes, seasonal produce and local flavours.

In enhancing these new spaces the design team drew on its network of local designers and suppliers to create a welcoming atmosphere that speaks to Mara’s celebration of place and its unique location in the Lamai Triangle in Tanzania. The tableware in particular contributes to the relaxed but elegant dining experience through handcrafted crockery, glassware and serveware fashioned from natural materials and in timeless tones.

In the redesign of Mara River Tented Camp, the social and dining spaces were reimagined to be more relaxed and informal, with menus to match, and design pieces to complement this easygoing atmosphere

Crafted in collaboration to celebrate culture

Many of Singita’s suppliers are based on longstanding relationships. One of these is Arusha based studio Shanga, which was enlisted to supply the glassware. Started in 2007 with the aim of empowering people with disabilities, at the heart of the brand is sustainability and its nature-forward and community-oriented ethos has long aligned with Singita’s. Equally as important to Shanga as creating employment is contributing positively to the environment with pieces made of discarded materials that celebrate Tanzanian culture. “The Shanga designers have worked hand in hand over the years with Singita, and Singita truly understands the concept and capabilities of what we can produce,” says Dina Wilson, manager at the studio. She hopes that through the various pieces in the camp, guests can appreciate the diversity and depth of African design.

Run by Imari Crous, who inherited the business from her father, ARK is a family-owned and run woodwork studio that specialises in finely crafted timber furniture and homeware. For Mara, ARK customised pieces (tableware as well as decorative artworks) from their range for the redesign. A perfect fit in terms of philosophy, ARK’s aim is to bring people, nature and design together – each piece unique and reflecting the distinct character of the wood grain. “We care a lot about our craft and see this as our way to preserve and pass it on to the next generation,” says Imari.

Longstanding collaboators like Shanga and ARK contributed their skill and craft to Mara's dining spaces, which celebrate both the setting and African culture as a whole. Image credit (right): Migneon Marais

For the crockery and ceramics, another long-term supplier – Storm in a Teacup – lent their creativity. A studio producing handcrafted ceramics, it foregrounds raw textures and earthy colours – seen to great effect in the range made for Mara, where the collaboration between the studio and Singita’s design team produced setting-appropriate pieces finished in green glazes with modern charcoal handles. “We have a similar aesthetic and both draw inspiration from nature, while sharing a desire to preserve different African cultures and the wilderness,” says Sue Weston.

Storm in a Teacup worked with the Singita design team to create custom crockery that spoke directly to the camp's sense of place

So much more than just a table setting

The soul and stories that go into each piece that adorns Singita’s tables elevate the experience beyond just the simple act of eating and drinking – they give life to the design and depth to the spaces. And foster a connection with the landscapes and cultures of this continent.

“It’s much more than the need to fill, it's the sharing, exchanging stories, connecting and reconnecting with people in this incredible environment that we wish to enhance through our designs,” sums up Sue.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant natural beauty and dynamic design of Singita Mara River Tented Camp here.

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