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Half Square

Leigh Robertson

If you happened upon the fabulous, pop-up Spier Secret Courtyard tucked away on Cape Town’s Wale Street over the last of the summer months this year, you would not have been able to miss the striking design details all around in that temporary space. The vibrant geometric window vinyl viewed from the street was a teaser for the feature wall within: an installation of monochrome ceramic tiles designed by local architect-designer Renee Rossouw. It’s this dazzling black-and-white feature wall that comes to mind when surveying some of the works created for Half Square, a World Design Capital project (#WDC382) that makes its debut at Cape Town's First Thursdays event in May. The name Half Square references the triangular format of the handcrafted ceramic tiles that are the project’s chief medium - a repetitive modular unit both beautiful and easily scalable, and which suit a number of design applications. That the tiles have been produced in a dizzying array of colours makes it especially exciting for the artists who have been invited to design the 2.1m x 1.4m panels. The inaugural ranges includes Half Square Artist Panels by Cape Town illustrator/designer Heather Moore of Skinny laMinx; knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo; fine artist Swain Hoogervorst and artist/fashion designer Doreen Southwood. Their designs have been translated into ceramic panel artworks by highly trained ceramicists at Spier Architectural Arts Ceramics Studio, and will be on show at Skinny laMinx and Robert Sherwood Design (both on Bree Street, Cape Town) and the AVA Gallery on Church Street (8 May only). They are also available to buy. Commercial ranges will be available for purchase towards the end of 2014. During this interim, Half Square will be open for large-scale commissions as well as general enquiries. Find out more on or email