A New Range of Collectible Design From Dokter and Misses
Practically Everywhere is a bold new range of collectible design pieces by industry leaders Dokter and Misses.
The work that Katy Taplin and Adriaan Hugo create for Dokter and Misses has always had an edge.
The Johannesburg-based duo emerged on the local design scene in 2007 with a collection of clean-lined decor accessories and furniture made from powder-coated sheet metal in primary colours. They reflected an aesthetic the brand itself accurately describes as ‘Bauhaus meets Dr Alban’.
And that early promise has more than paid off: in the past decade, Taplin and Hugo have progressed from being promising young designers to a force to be reckoned with. The pair design and manufacture a wide range of Dokter and Misses products from their base (now in Jeppestown) and also run 99 Juta, the design showcase in Braamfontein that houses the Dokter and Misses showroom as well as space for work by other creatives.
The brand’s relationship with design gallery Southern Guild, too, spans a decade so far: Taplin and Hugo created their Two-Man table for the Southern Guild showcase at Joburg Art Fair in 2009 before collaborating with Zander Blom on Die Laaste Braai for Southern Guild in 2010. And from 2012, their Kassena sideboard toured the world with the gallery’s showcase of cutting-edge African design.
This year, Taplin and Hugo presented their first full solo show, Practically Everywhere, at Southern Guild’s gallery in the Silo District in Cape Town. It’s a collection of (mostly) cabinets, but these ‘storage items’ are unlike any you’ve seen before. Wooden spikes burst from a metal cupboard, while another is encrusted with what seems like hundreds of colourful metal worms. A glass cabinet is imprinted with an image of slap chips and sports 3-D ‘squirts’ of ‘tomato sauce’ emerging from its surface.
Needless to say, the objects’ ‘usefulness’ feels somewhat secondary – at the show opening, we noticed attendees opening the cabinets’ doors as if to check that they were genuinely functional objects (and duly discovering that, yes, they were).
The work on Practically Everywhere is remarkable: it is both witty and slightly scary, evocative of childlike play and yet serious, sometimes almost disturbing. ‘We’re able to approach these pieces with no boundaries, which allows us freedom in function and aesthetics,’ says Taplin.
Practically Everywhere also reflects the context in which it was created – the always-changing world of central Johannesburg, where Taplin and Hugo live and work. In part, these pieces are ‘an abstracted study of the urban ecosystem as it adapts to and is overtaken by natural forces’, as Southern Guild says.
When asked about their own favourites in the collection, Hugo says the pieces that stand out for him are ‘Tjips’, where ‘over-saturation comes across strongly with a hint of Pop Art’, and ‘Infidelity’, because ‘the mark-making process was the most fun. It involved a paintball gun…’.
Taplin’s pick is ‘Rat Trap’ – for its transformation ‘from a raw metal, aggressive “Mad Max” piece to a playful, brightly coloured creature’.
Says Hugo, ‘Our main aim was to communicate a feeling of oversaturation and overexposure. A feeling of being surrounded, interacting with, consuming and pushing against everything practically everywhere.Good and bad.’ As such, Practically Everywhere is a perfect summation of the current zeitgeist.