When she’s not on her bicycle, taking in the sights and sounds of our beautiful city, Xanelé Puren, the co-founder of See Saw Do, a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on designing for and with children is at her studio in Salt River making the magic happen.
As she explains, “We’re motivated by a desire to use design to create amazing spaces for children where they live, learn and play. We believe that every child deserves the absolute best environment/education/support to reach their full potential.”
It’s this beautiful heart and generosity of spirit that really shines through when you meet Xanelé and it’s for both of these reasons, and because we’ve so loved having her as a customer over the years, that we asked her to take part in our MM Women series.
Thank you, Xanelé, for your wonderful support, for the incredible work you’re doing in our city, and for being someone who wears her heart so beautifully on her sleeve. Thanks too to our amazing team – Christopher Smith and Mikhailia Petersen – for the gorgeous images.
Xanelé wears Shorts and Bell Shirt in black when photographed with her bicycle.
Photographed in the See Saw Do workshop, Xanelé wears Shorts in black and Noa Shirt green with a Moon bag from Not Seen as well as a Silk Tunic in black worn over a white Noa Shirt.
Relaxing on the couch with her pooch, Xanelé is wearing a white Oversized Shirt with a pair of black Slacks.
A minute with Xanelé…
I live in Woodstock, in a little blue house (which we might paint pink, soon), in the middle of the street, with my partner, cat (Bob), dog (Phoebe) and a big fluffy foster Malamute, Mike.
Weekends are just way too short! I always try to cycle – usually to Noordhoek or around the peninsula. This typically involves fellow bicycle-riding friends and includes coffee and baked goods pit stops. Other than that, I volunteer at Oscars Arc, a beautifully designed container pop-up dog adoption initiative, where we give dogs the exposure they deserve to find wonderful homes. Fun fact: they’ve increased the dog adoption rate in the Western Cape by 20%. Another weekend favourite is taking our dogs for a walk and ending up at Clarke’s for brunch. I’d consider us (and the dogs) regulars there 🙂
Favourite cycle route
I discovered my all-time favourite cycle route on day three of Tour of Ara last year, when we rode from Middelpos to Calvinia (98 km) through the most majestic Karoo landscapes. The plan is to definitely revisit it this year. Other than that, the Chapmans peak route and a trip around the peninsula will never get old. My father planned a route for us last year where we rode gravel roads between farms close to the farm where I grew up (outside Mossel Bay). Being surrounded by never-ending fields with no people or cars in sight is such a treat!
Grimes (Art Angels) – probably one of my favourite albums of all time. Drake (Views), nothing like some Drizzy to get me motivated! I recently revisited some of the older Kanye West albums (College Drop Out/Late Registration). I love listening to Ann Margaret, Earl Klugh and Blossom Dearie (Blossom Dearie) while I’m cooking. Lately, I’ve also been into PC music’s Hanna Diamond + A.G Cook, 70s sunshine pop band the 5th Dimension and the Everything Will Be All Right album by Weezer.
I wish to critically keep on a focused journey of self-discovery. The past few years I feel like I’ve been truly grounded – knowing who I am more than ever before. With that, establishing a set of values that guide me through life. Living a life of intent. As Anis Mojabi wrote, “eyes open, hearts loud” – that’s how I want to navigate this crazy/amazing/beautiful/mad world.
Other than that, hopefully launching our cycle club for womxn, Modern Ladies. This will be a space for womxn to get together, ride together, explore our city and build a community of female riders who have each other’s back!
Illustrating a children’s book for a Canadian/Ugandan client which I am very excited about. Finishing off a room (Activity Space) we designed for the new Museum of Childhood – launching later this year. Kick starting our Doers programme at Zonnebloem boys and girls primary – a focused, personalised education, hands-on project-based workshop for small groups of children with infrastructural outcomes that’ll benefit the school.
The not-too-short-shorts in black, the Bell Sleeve shirt in black and the oversized shirt in black! It has become my uniform (paired with Nike Air force ones, of course). When I’m not riding my bicycle I absolutely love wearing my black jumpsuit 🙂
Follow See Saw Do‘s latest projects on Instagram.