In November 2017 we opened the Mungo Mill, our new thriving hub of production, based at the historical homestead of Old Nick Village in Plettenberg Bay. It currently comprises of our Design, Weaving and CMT departments. Through industrialisation people have lost touch with the process of how the goods we use are made. Our aim is to bridge this gap. Open to the public, the mill showcases a cross-section of weaving production from pre-industrial revolution to present day. It is a space for production, public appreciation and a first hand experience of our commitment to transparency and accountability for what we make and do.
The mill has not only become our new thriving hub of production, but also the embodiment of our commitment to transparency in what we make and do. We strive to help shape and uphold the standards of sustainable production.
"We challenge the idea that value is a product of price. We don’t compromise on production methods or cost of raw materials when it comes to producing a quality product. We believe strongly that what we create and the manner in which we create it will filter down to the end user and help to improve the world we live in" – Dax Holding
The new Mungo Mill was designed by Architect Andrea Cristoforetti. Where possible, it is built using materials and contractors that are local to the area. One of the most distinguishable characteristics of the building is a wooden slatted ‘skin’ that wraps around an elevated walkway running along the front. It was inspired by the overlapping warp threads and angles seen on the heddles of a loom. The curved façade also emulates fabric folds. Visitors enter through a set of arched glass doors and can walk through the production process from weaving to CMT. A large central, double volume room houses our collection of 16 restored looms from different weaving eras and can be seen from an elevated viewing deck that weaves from the walkway into the mill. Outside, a water feature snakes around the entrance and under the ‘skin’ of the building. Looking to the future, we have already planned a second phase which will house all our warping equipment as well a museum which will showcase the history of weaving from preindustrial revolution to present day.
The building of the New Mungo Mill
In January 2017 we embarked on our latest project. We are building what we are calling the Mungo Mill, a working weaving museum that will open to the public in order to showcase the age old art of weaving, from pre industrial-revolution to present day.
Through industrialization we have lost touch with the process of how the goods we use are made. At Mungo we believe that with a policy of total transparency, in addition to the experience of visiting our manufacturing facility, and with the use of our products we can start to regain a connection with how our world works. This is part of our sustainability, transparency and traceability objective, if people can understand where something comes from or how it is made they will value it more, and in turn this can help to curb the blind consumerist attitude that is affecting our planet.
How we design
Mungo possesses the rare ability to produce a fabric from the initial idea to the finished product. This allows us to be organic in our design process. Some of our designs are adapted from historic pattern books and given a creative or modern edge with tweaking here and there. We still lay out the design on traditional graph paper which is translated and punched by hand onto the pattern card. Once one of our fabrics has been designed and created we will take it home and live with it. It is tested and used. The product then grows from the cloth as we become familiar with its individual characteristics. It is from here onwards that our fabrics are refined, resulting in exemplary handle and quality.
Our fibres and yarns
The process starts by sourcing a suitable yarn which matches the requirements that the product will need, the fabric must be durable, aesthetically pleasing, and have a great tactile quality.We only weave with natural fibres. Our linen (Flax) is grown in Belgium and imported in its raw form. It is then processed in Atlantis (West coast, South Africa) into the linen yarn. We use South African grown and produced cotton, wool and mohair. South Africa is know for some of the worlds highest quality mohair. The viscose chenille is imported from Italy.
Prior to the New Mungo Mill...
The Old Working Weaving Museum
Mungo's production consisted of two weaving operations. Our working Weaving Museum was our creational hub where all our sampling was done on 19th Century Hattersley looms. This is situated at Old Nick Village (Mungo HQ) and was open for the public to experience these fine looms in action. The Hattersley looms were gifted to Stuart many years ago. He restored them with much patience and skill and and up until now we thought of them as the ''beating heart' of Mungo.
The Old Mill
The previous Mill was situated about 15 min from Mungo HQ in the farmlands of The Crags. This mill comprised of our warping equipment (still does) CMT, and the more 'modern' Rapier looms which allows us to weave wider width fabrics. As well as the most newly restored Ruti Looms. This bustling hub of Mungo had fabric piled up the walls and fabric rolls stacked in the rafters!