Introducing MŪVEK

This October, MŪVEK, a new furniture design studio, launches in Cape Town, South Africa. MŪVEK is the brainchild of architect and designer Chris van Niekerk and arts manager János Cserháti. MŪVEK’s debut collection is made up of 12 original furniture designs, which were developed between 2016 and 2022

The seeds of MŪVEK’s debut collection were planted six years ago when Chris designed a table for an exhibition curated by Southern Guild. His submission, the “Stiletto Table”, prompted him to pursue the principles of that first design and extrapolate them in further pieces.

Some of the new concepts came about when clients of his architecture practice commissioned bespoke items of furniture for residential projects. Others arose as solutions to his own personal requirements, when he could not find what he was looking for. Eventually, the individual items began to form a coherent “family” with a clear identity and common thread, which Chris and János decided to formalise.




The golden thread that runs through MŪVEK’s first collection is that the pieces, through their detailing, tell the story of their “method of assembly” as Chris puts it. The highly refined and ingeniously designed joints and intersections – the elements where parts come together – are expressed rather than hidden, their construction becoming the aesthetic.

While the “Stiletto Table”, now known as the MŪ811, was executed in brass and steel, the rest of the range explores similar approaches and principles in a variety of natural materials, extending the palette to include aluminium, stone, timber and leather.

“There is beauty in expressing the way things come together and how different materials interact on certain pieces,” says Chris. A playful dimension is introduced when the logic of assembly is deliberately made to look structurally “tenuous”, as Chris explains. Often, through a trick of the eye, there is an apparent fragility or precariousness in certain joints or intersections, where weight and lightness are juxtaposed.

There is a subtle contrast between the boldness of the expression of the natural characteristics of raw materials – often reinforced by their weight and bulk of certain elements – in dialogue with the refinement and delicacy of other parts. 

Apart from the comfort and tactile richness of MŪVEK’s designs, they prompt an awareness not only of the everyday use of a furniture item but also of the design and manufacture process. In articulating their assembly, these pieces express the modernist principle of honest construction and truth to materials. The designs consciously explore the relationship between industry and art, uniqueness and mass production. Their beauty embodies a certain tension and contradictory spirit that gives them an artistic dimension. 

MŪVEK has developed each item in the range working closely with a select group of skilled craftsmen and manufacturers. While each item is signed and numbered, and issued with a certificate of authenticity, the items in the range are made to order and constitute an open edition. 



MŪVEK is a Hungarian word that, loosely translated, means “works”. Both Chris and János have roots in Hungary and it is where they met. While MŪVEK’s debut range is designed and manufactured in South Africa, the designs and brand identity draw on the legacy of 20th century Hungarian product and graphic design.

The word MŪVEK carries multiple connotations that capture some of the principles at work in the designs. MŪVEK can refer to the “works” in a word like “artworks”. At the same time, it carries the industrial associations in a term like “engineering works”. It is at once an individual, artistic expression used to describe “fine products of human effort” and also industrial manufacture, which carries associations of factories and labour.

MŪVEK’s debut range can be seen on their newly launched website, and is available to view in person in Cape Town by appointment at 37 Buitenkant Street.

MUVEKSTUDIO.COM[email protected] | +27 65 951 2517