As collaborations gain popularity in today’s creative circles, local partnerships show the impact that such pairings can have on global design. In our #HLDesignIssue we profiled three of our favourite dream teams – first up, Lionel Smit and Wiid Design‘s Lineage cabinet. Watch this space for more design collabs to follow.
Furniture designer and manufacturer Laurie Wiid van Heerden and famed local artist Lionel Smit first collaborated three years ago on a signature Wiid Design bench that was shown at GUILD 2014. Painted by Smit with his highly sought-after large-scale faces, it sold before the show even opened. ‘I love being involved in something that takes me out of my usual environment and places my work in a different context,’ says Smit. ‘It makes you see the work differently.’ Following the success of their first venture, the two are currently collaborating on their third bench, having recently completed the Lineage cabinet.
While Smit applies thick layers of paint with varied visual texture, Van Heerden sees to the technical specs, covering all design details with precision and in turn giving Smit the freedom of artistic expression. Lineage, a cork-and-steel cabinet weighing close to 550kg (it dissects into three parts for easy installation), finds its harmony in a historical narrative – gables reference Cape Dutch architecture, while the Cape Malay women painted on the aluminium doors speak of the Western Cape’s rich cultural heritage.
‘I’ve always been fascinated by cabinets,’ Van Heerden says. ‘In Europe, they are heirloom pieces that can be viewed in museums, and are carved with so much symbolism in the imagery.’ His idea to create one such collectible piece fashioned in a way that it would present itself as an artwork in a grand entrance hall resulted in three-and-a-half months of fastidious design work before Smit was sent the doors on which to paint, having to swap out his usual oil colours for car paint. ‘I enjoy Laurie’s approach of taking old ideas and recreating them into something new,’ says Smit. ‘I like the cork on this scale – it becomes almost sculptural on its own.’
Lineage made its grand debut at Southern Guild‘s inaugral show in its new GUILD location at Cape Town’s Silo district on 14 July 2017. It will be on view for sale until the end of August.