design

Exploring functional art in the home with renowned sculptor Bruce Little

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Bruce Little

Based in Grahamstown, Pangolin Design specialises in creating unique decor and functional art pieces that reflect the heart of contemporary Africa. The company, established by renowned sculptor Bruce Little, employs multi-skilled local craftsmen and designers who are led by Little's conservation and environmental ethics. We talk to the self-taught entrepreneur about the importance of functional art and how Pangolin Design informs it.

Tell us more about your company.

Pangolin Design started in 2011 when I identified a gap in the market, in the tourism sector, where there was a need for mementos of Africa that were not mass produced and were, in their own right, pieces of artwork. As with all my artwork, I go no further than to draw from my 20 years of working in the African bush for inspiration and as a result all my works have a strong natural history element in them. Pangolin Design focuses on bridging the gap between function and art, so, in addition to the pewter figurines, the development of functional art, such as tableware and furniture, has becoming a sought-after feature of Pangolin Design. Its aesthetic is simple beauty in its form and function.

What's your definition of functional art?

It's exactly as the name suggests: an object that goes beyond the merely decorative or a piece of art, but also has a use in our everyday lives – this could be anything from a building to a teaspoon.

Bruce Little

What place does functional art have in the home?

We all work hard to achieve our goals and aspirations and spend a lot of time in, and money on, the environments we inhabit. Why would we choose to put something within those hard-earned settings that does not complement what has gone into them? The bottom line is, if you have a beautiful home, why not have beautiful pieces or objects of functional art that enhance the surroundings?

Why is functional art important to the design industry and to homeowners?

For the design industry, it encourages growth and intelligent, creative thought processes. For the homeowner, it provides style, ambience, a personal 'stamp' and a feeling of accomplished pleasure.

Visit pangolindesign.com for more.