design, Events

Our top 10 picks from 100% Design South Africa 2017

Jessica Hunkin

This year's 100% Design South Africa showcase ran from 9 to 13 August at Joburg's Gallagher Convention Centre, where design lovers gathered to discover creative collaborations and the best new products from established industry names as well as exciting newcomers. For us, a few special projects stood out. Winning Best Stand Design for 2017, the Afrotel by Source Interior Brand Architects (Source IBA) with support from House and Leisure was of particular significance, presenting a unique vision for the African hospitality sector. Also notable was We are Joburg, curated by Cathy O’Clery (who also put together We are Cape Town at Decorex earlier this year) in partnership with the Gauteng Tourism Authority. Celebrating an emerging 'Afro-urban' aesthetic, this exhibit explored the individual style of Joburg's designers unified by a confidence that is strikingly contemporary and unashamedly bold. Among those selected to share new work representative of the city were Houtlander, Joe Paine, Studio 19, The Urbanative and Tonic Design.

1. Houtlander

Made out of solid timber and painted a rich mahogany, the Coronation bench by Houtlander was the first thing we saw upon entering the fair. With its exaggerated circular shape that almost closes in on itself, it's a highly unusual and beautifully conceived conversation piece.

2. Tonic Design

One of House and Leisure editor Tiaan Nagel's favourite pieces from 100% Design was the Façade cabinet by Tonic Design. 'The duo's incredible use of colour combined with their intuitive understanding of shape and form, layered with informed material choices and considered detailing, make their offering unique and instantly recognisable,' he says. With an aluminum frame that reveals a tinted mirror backing, this sleek cabinet brings to mind a typical Johannesburg apartment block when the sun is setting. Also organised in association with the Gauteng Tourism Authority, and without a doubt one of the most vibrant stands at the fair, the Young Gauteng showcase spotlighted the work of 10 rising local design talents including designer Pone, ceramics designer Duma Mtimkulu, multi-disciplinary artist and entrepreneur Taki Originals and visual artist Sibusiso Nkosi.

3. Pone

The incredibly eye-catching Umada carpet by Pone was one of our top finds at 100% Design; we love the playful, tessellating shapes wrapped up in a killer palette.

4. Sibusiso Nkosi

Also seen at the Young Gauteng stand, the detailed, delicate ceramics of Sibusiso Nkosi tell imaginative and enchanting tales. Every year 100% Design South Africa invites a highly acclaimed designer or design studio to participate in the exhibition as Feature Designer of the Year. Known for producing some of the most sought-after local design exports, with products that grace homes and hotels the world over, it was none other than Gregor Jenkin who accepted the prestigious title for 2017.

5. Gregor Jenkin

Joining the ranks of South African design superstars Renée Rossouw and Atang Tshikare who held the title previously, Gregor Jenkin presented a brand-new collection at this year's fair. According to the organisers, 'Gregor Jenkin Studio is interested not in producing design or art, but rather in the physical act of creation and manufacture. Design is a by-product of this age-old process: a natural consequence of the studio’s attempt to find the best way of doing something.'

6. Detail'24

Offering a welcome pop of colour that was impossible to miss, we fell for Detail'24's pretty pink Catherine drinks cabinet. Another outstanding project unveiled at this year's fair was the Seed to Seat initiative, a collaboration between seven of South Africa's most prominent designers and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC). A few of the creatives and studios involved included James Mudge Furniture Studio, Wiid Design and David Krynauw.

7. Wiid Design

A result of the decision to create African-inspired furniture in combination with modern geometric shapes, the Meraki Daybed by Laurie Wiid van Heerden is a quirky piece made using cork and American soft maple. The intricate carving seen along the edges sets this design apart, lending to its handmade appeal.

8. David Krynauw

While he has minimal wooden furniture with a whimsical edge down pat, David Krynauw's designs are also branching out into wilder – and considerably larger – territories. We recently spoke to David about the process behind the studio's first large-scale structure, and he created another impressive wooden arch for the 100% Cafe this year. Made with American red oak for the Seed to Seat project, the Playbench 2 is where 'playful, spatial and interactive meet'. In one of the best brand-designer collaborations we've seen this year, Caesarstone worked with influential local talents – Dokter and Misses, Weylandts and Gregor Jenkin Studio – on Convivium.

9. Weylandts

Using three of Caesarstone's new products, father-daughter duo Chris and Anna Weylandt came up with items of furniture to highlight the versatility of Moorland Fog, Montblanc and Rugged Concrete finishes in the home. Our favourite creations were Weylandts' trio of sidetables with thin, textured tops and solid wooden bases. 100% Design South Africa 2017 played host to the launch of myriad new design studios, projects, products and initiatives. Out of the many fabulous things we saw, one that particularly caught our attention was the recently launched sister company to textile and mirror studio Damn Good Looking, playfully dubbed Stay Evil Kids.

10. Stay Evil Kids

The conceptual art and product design studio Stay Evil Kids unveiled their Dirty Mirrors at Missibaba's store along the Keyes Art Mile on 29 July, two of which were on display at 100% Design. Pictured below, the three-legged Double Dutch features a double-sided tinted mirror that fits neatly into a wooden sphere – it has all the makings of a striking statement piece and lands a spot high up on our wish list. For more information about the fair, visit