Designer In Profile: Christopher Mbanefo, YASAVA Solutions SA

 Christopher Mbanefo - YASAVA - 2014

Name: Christopher Mbanefo

Company: YASAVA Solutions SA

Position within company: Founder & CEO



What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?

We are all much more exposed to visual information, by way of media and web-based resources. This is not only stimulating and inspiring in the way form and space can interact, but it allows the creation of new functionalities for human interface. The result is that we no longer have ‘vogues’ in design per se, as we may have had in the past, but rather it’s a fluid exchange of new possibilities and responsibilities… including cultural correctness, energy efficiency and sustainability, to name a few.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are working on new and exciting solutions for ultra-long range aircraft within our ASTRAL DESIGN SERIES. We have recently been approached to design the interior of a supersonic business aircraft. While it is also an ultra-long range aircraft in terms of range, the shortened flight times result in different design parameters, and hence different design solutions.

A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a career and a life?

Private and professional time are two sides of a translucent whole, which is life. One feeds the other and needs to be in balance. One way is to ensure that you truly enjoy both, and freely move between both. Many feel that career and family should not be mixed. However, I include my family and children in some of the challenges we face professionally, while also opening up my home to select business associates. It has worked well for us.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.






If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

Put yourself fully in the mindset and cultural space of the User and optimize the User’s quality of the experience of your design.

How important are The International Yacht and Aviation Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

Very! It offers an excellent platform to see the designs of colleagues, and also to meet and interact with them. The IYA&A are a dynamic catalyst for various professional and cultural backgrounds of the designers, and it includes clients to see and be inspired by the best of what the best have to offer.

How do you relax?

When you say relax, I guess you also mean how do I switch off?

I like to place myself between heaven and earth by flying aerobatics. When on earth I enjoy cooking, sharing a bottle of exceptionally good wine with my family and friends… and playing my guitar.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

To become a better person…

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

The car you drive? –  A Tata Diesel… some of my friends think it’s a Jaguar XF.

Your favourite place to travel to in the world? – There’s no one favourite place… there are so many amazing places I’ve been to, an many more to explore!

Your favourite hotel/ restaurant/ bar? – Hotel: Lilliesleaf Farm, Johannesburg… once a quaint B&B, now a historic site and museum. Restaurant/Bar: Refuge l’Espace, located at +3000m in the Swiss Alps

The place that gives you the most energy? – Any place with a 360 deg view of the horizon.

And the place that enables you to totally relax? – My bed…

Your favourite food and drink? – A caffe latte… first thing in the morning! No favourite food, but it has to be spicy.