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Local woodwork

We just couldn't resist sharing the outstanding woodwork of Meyer von Wielligh with you. Their pieces speak to nature with subtly fluid lines and an obvious truth to materials, and their dedication to environmentally sustainable practices is something we particularly love. But really, it's the up to the minute good looks of all of their wooden furniture pieces that got our attention. So we decided to share their talents with you in a chat with Abrie von Wielligh- one part of the successful two man wood working team. Tell us about your signature range? The signature range exists of two collections, the Umthi (tree in Xhosa) range and the Intsomi (stories in Xhosa). The Umthi range is inspired by the  organic lines and the flow of  tree branches . We take processed wood back to its natural form and appreciate the wood for what it is. The design aim was to put the focus back on the material that we work with. The Intsomi ( stories in Xhosa ) range  tells the stories of the trees. We make use of  the pith of the oak tree  to tell this story. If one looks at the end grain of a tree, it's possible to count the age of a tree and see the conditions under which it grew. Here again we aim to  highlight the material that we use. What does design mean to you? Good design, to me, is an ongoing process to create beautiful, functional, valuable and environmentally  friendly products. The process never stops, it always evolves. As a designer you can never sit back and say 'here is my master piece and no one can improve on it.' Its about improving on the existing. What do you love about working with wood? Working with a natural product is such a privilege. It's such an attractive material to work with. Each piece is different from the previous one. Just to experience the various smells and looks of different woods in the factory is a joy on its own. What role does sustainability play in your product? All the wood we use for our designs is sustainable. We would love to use more  African woods, but we know its mostly not sustainable.  We have a little nursery from which we give trees away to the surrounding underprivileged communities. We are also busy putting a program together to plant a tree for every furniture piece we sell. So basically if you buy a piece of furniture from Meyer von Wielligh you will plant a tree in the process. What’s on the cards at the moment? I am currently busy with a Solar tree which is an umbrella that looks like a tree and generates energy through little solar panels. We are also busy designing a new range that combines copper and wood. Tell us about the process involved in creating each piece of furniture? It normally starts with an idea or inspiration which then gets put down onto paper. We start with a basic full scale mock up of the piece, attend to any changes that we might want to make and only then do we produce the real product. Meyer von Wielligh products are available from Bespoke in George (044-873-2454) and Ebony in Cape Town and Franschhoek (021-876-4477). For more information, visit Meyer von Wielligh or call sales on 083-631-4428.