It has been only nine years since Southern Guild was born, but in this short time, it has injected a steroid jab of inspiration into South African and African design. Through Southern Guild, these ten creatives have forged the collectible design sector in South Africa. Together, they are carving out a peculiarly African idiom of design that has proven its relevance globally.
If Die Antwoord’s YoLandi Visser were in Star Wars, she’d be a sculpture by Justine Mahoney. This Cape Town-based artist draws from her childhood memories growing up in South Africa during the 1970s and ’80s, where an undercurrent of menace swirls beneath pastel-hued innocence.
We’d call Gregor Jenkin the grandfather of limited-edition design in South Africa if he weren’t so young. As the first African designer to participate at Design Miami 2011 with his solo show Migrant Migrate, Jenkin transforms iconic South African objects into collectibles – and as such has created a new local design vernacular.
Colourful, detailed and layered, Andile Dyalvane’s distinctive Xhosa-inspired vessels teeter on the border of art and design. Lauded by Artsy earlier this year as one of the top 20 contemporary artists working with ceramics, he has shifted the way people view the age-old craft both locally and abroad.
A lover of shape and form, Xandre Kriel creates high-end furniture that elevates simple geometry to an art. The result is timeless furniture with huge appeal, such as Kriel’s iconic slate-and-steel Vos Altar table.
With a studio in Burkina Faso, self-taught artist Hamed Ouattara draws on his environment to produce mixed-media furniture out of salvaged metal such as discarded oil barrels. Hammered, shaped and repurposed by hand, these materials give a distinct aesthetic to Ouattara’s work.
Doktor and Misses
Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin haven’t missed a beat since they set up Dokter and Misses 10 years ago. Confidently executing their designs with a flawlessness usually found in more established studios, the pair have injected the local furniture scene with a much-needed dose of smarts and humour.
Arguably the most important and established blacksmith in South Africa, Conrad Hicks describes himself as a ‘toolmaker’ who believes that beauty, function and form can’t ever be separated.
Otto du Plessis
Otto du Plessis is one of the reasons so many South African sculptors’ and designers’ works look so good. As the founder of Bronze Age foundry, he has produced creations for many of the leading artists in South Africa – and is now being sought out by international design heavyweights.
Known as the godfather of African design, and a key member of the Design Network Africa programme, Cheick Diallo’s furniture features a mix of ancient wisdom and contemporary sensibility that challenges common perceptions of African design.
With his leather, cane, cowhide and sheepskin animal-shaped pods that transport the sitter to another world, no one has done more to push our sense of what furniture can be than Porky Hefer. His pieces sold for record prices at a Christie’s auction in London 18 months ago and
made it into the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia – the first museum acquisition for South African design.
Find out more about these ten design heroes in our June issue – in stores and online now.