That Southern Guild has been invited to represent South Africa at the very first London Design Biennale in September 2016 doesn’t just allow local design to shine on the global stage again, it cements the South African design platform as one of the world’s key creative institutions.
The event, which is taking place at Somerset House from 7 to 27 September, will feature installations and exhibitions from the best museums and organisations in the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and the German Design Council, all in the name of celebrating the possibilities of design innovation.
Each institution has been asked to showcase new works around the theme ‘Utopia by Design’, and in line with this Southern Guild will be presenting a few creations by extraordinary (and appropriately quirky) Cape Town-based designer Porky Hefer.
Renowned for his unusual suspended animal seats, Porky will showcase an installation titled Otium and Acedia (Leisure Time and Listlessness) that features a few hanging cocoons from his early-2016 Monstera Deliciosa exhibition in Cape Town and a selection of new ones. The newest, and arguably most exciting, of the lot is Panthera Leo (pictured above), which is both the first male hanging creature Porky has created and the only animal in the series that’s handmade from sheepskin instead of leather.
The floating creatures fit the theme perfectly as they represent spaces where you can escape from the world, reconnect with your playful inner self and view things from a different point of view.
‘There’s an enormous amount of fantasy, joy and self-expression in South African design,’ explains Trevyn McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild, ‘and Porky’s creations manage to take this even further by reimagining a world filled with playfulness and liberation.’
Porky himself adds, ‘They [the seats] are their own little islands of utopia; there are no power jacks or chargers, screens or WiFi.’
His installation will be part of a broader discussion about the role of design in sustainability, social equality, energy and cities – all factors that will make the London Design Biennale (which overlaps with the London Design Festival) well worth a visit.
Here are a few of the other creatures by Porky that you can expect to meet at the event.
To find out more about the London Design Biennale and its programme visit londondesignbiennale.com.