It would seem that New York has a thing for South African ceramicists. Luxury Manhattan department store Bergdorf Goodman has stocked the phenomenal clay works of Joburg-born artist Lauren Kaplan for some time already, and now the glamorous shop is displaying pieces by KwaZulu-Natal’s well-known Ardmore too.
The intricate hand-painted, hand-sculpted ceramic works are featured as part of a safari display on the 7th floor of the prestigious store, and they show that international retail brands do recognise the quality and aesthetic appeal of local designs. In fact, Bergdorf Goodman is the sort of shop that designers everywhere aspire to have their products stocked at, so to have had work selected for inclusion all the way from the tip of Africa is a true honour.
The now thriving Ardmore studio, which is famous for its exotic imagery and ornate design flourishes, started out as a tiny venture under two women – Fee Halsted and Bonnie Ntshalintshali – in the mid-80s and has grown from strength to strength ever since. The brand’s distinctive African-inspired style has earned it fans all over the world, with many of its pieces being displayed in international museums and now alongside the likes of Prada, Alexander McQueen and Tommy Mitchell in one of America’s most celebrated stores.
While Ardmore and Lauren Kaplan are both heavily influenced by the African landscape, their styles are very different and yet both have found a home at Bergdorf Goodman – proof that there’s a growing global appreciation for the whole spectrum of South African ceramic design.
The Ardmore creations will be displayed at the department store until May 2016.