Artisan Story : Simon's Glass Blower

Published on 30th April, 2015 by Otago Design

Simon is the founder and director of Alisim Glass. He has operated this small and successful glass blowing business since 2003 from his home in the small town of Joska next to Nairobi. He started his business as a “jua kali” operation meaning working “under the hot sun” or working with what means you have, building yourself up with the very basics available to you.

Our bottles have been made using recycled glass ranging from melted down tinted windows to Bombay Sapphire Gin bottles. The Shanga Ya Ngozi bottle collection reflects the long adorned beaded necks of the female members of the Turkana tribe in Northern Kenya. The Chupa and Dawa bottles are sets of decorative bottles which have been carefully designed and soulfully made to bring a unique handmade quality to any contemporary interior.

Simon’s kiln is limited by the number of pieces it can produce per day. The kiln works well for glass beads and some smaller items but cannot accommodate larger hand blown pieces. With his savings, investments and loans he has purchased a small plot of land near to his current home workshop. He aims is to build a larger kiln which can produce 100 pieces per day, as well as larger scale pieces.

By continuing collaborations we hope that with our design experience and his traditional and exceptional glass blowing skills we can continue to create unique and beautiful pieces for the global market. As well as a positive social and financial impact to a marginalized community in Kenya.

Midcentury Modern

Published on 15th March, 2015 by Otago Design

Otago Design will be showcasing at Midcentury Modern in association with Elle Decoration on the 15th of March 2015 at Dulwich College in London!

For one day only, Otago Design offers shoppers 20% discount on the unique pieces from their collection and further reductions on samples.

Come to the contemporary room to discover it!

MIDCENTURY MODERN - Sunday 15 March 2015 - 10am to 4pm - Dulwich College - London SE21 7LD

Post show update

Published on 15th January, 2015 by Otago Design

Three rewarding days at Home London, we met lots of new people and had interesting conversations. The positive feedback we received, confirmed and reassured Otagodesign's aspirations.

Thanks to Homify for featuring us in their online magazine: Modern art for the home.

Thanks as well to Sally Angharad for her lovely article online.

Looking forward to our trip to Paris for Maison & Objet, and super exciting about shopping in Paris !

Happy New Year from Otago

Published on 9th January, 2015 by Otago Design

Wishing you all a Happy New Year for 2015!

Nine days in and we are in full swing, today we are setting up our stand for Home_London Spring/Summer show at Kensington Olympia from Sun 11th Jan- Tues 13th Jan. Come down and see us at stand C1.

Bérénice the new addition to the Otago team has been hard at work all morning painting our stand.

We have started the year with some very exciting news from mid-January we will have pieces from our collection in London's most desirable shopping destination Selfridges & Co. As well as being available on their online store from the end of the month.

Valentine's Day Competition

Published on 2nd February, 2015 by Otago Design

Take a walk on the wild side this Valentine’s Day !

CHUI – Leopard: Supreme hunter, symbolic magic of nocturnal energy and creativity, adaptability

TWIGA – Giraffe: Grace, strive through challenges whilst remaining balanced, Vision, Beauty, Gentleness of Spirit.

SWARA – Impala: Wisdom, speed, elegance and agility, life is an adventure.

Otago Design is offering you a chance to win a pair of brass animals made with love by artisans from marginalized communities in Kenya.

The animals will arrive in a beautiful hand made pouch : the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day.

Now for your chance to WIN…

Remember, each way will count as a new entry!

  • Follow the blog by signing up to our news letter on the’s home page
  • Share this post on your Facebook page via the icon below
  • ReTweet the relevant update on the Otago Design Twitter page at

Comment below including the animal you would like to win: Chui, Twiga and Swara!

The extremely lucky winner will be selected on Thursday 12th Febrary 2015 to ensure the prize is received in time for Valentine’s Day.

Good Luck !