HL chatted to Timber Designs’ Jacques Cronje about his new lighting range and the importance of working with a material as sustainable as wood.
How did Timber Design come about?
As result of my love of timber buildings and all things timber, I worked for specialist timber design and build companies in Knysna from the mid nineties, and was privileged to have some of the pioneers in the industry as my mentors. In the mid 2000s, a time of rampant development and too many McMansions, I wanted to provide more sustainable solutions and follow my passion for timber. So I decided to focus exclusively on timber homes and buildings. I started my architectural practice, Jacques Cronje Timber Design, in 2007.
What was the inspiration behind your timber lighting range?
It was a combination of things. I wanted to work with more natural forms, and with a growing interest in the rapid evolution of digital fabrication technology, was seeking a way to combine these elements in my work. As it is not that easy to find clients who want digitally crafted organic forms in their buildings, I started smaller, with furniture and lighting. I was also looking for lights that I felt would compliment the interiors of my architectural projects. And so the minima timber lighting range was born. Who knows, it may yet evolve to utilising the technologies I’m developing in the lighting range for the design of our buildings.
What’s your favourite thing about working with this material?
Wood is my favourite material to work with. It is tactile. And with careful design and the right technology it can be cut and shaped to almost any form imaginable. It is light in weight, yet strong, and importantly, in the way the components of my lights clip together without the need for glue or metal fixing, it has a degree of flexibility. Also, it is a natural product and the one of the most sustainable of all materials… it grows and is replaced when harvested and grows some more. Think of wood this way… we grow the food we eat – why should we not, instead of using vast amounts of energy to mine and smelt and fire, rather grow the materials we use too?
Your range is made locally. What do you think is the importance behind supporting local design?
We have all of the talent, skills, and technical know-how right here in South Africa. More local design leads to more local manufacturing, development of local skills and talent, which in turn should lead to an increase in demand for more locally designed products. We can create an upward spiral. With Cape Town as the World Design Capital 2014, there is also the opportunity for local South African design to be placed in the world spotlight. Wouldn’t it be a great change to the norm if, for example, our North European and other design stalwarts starting looking at us for design inspiration?
Where can our readers buy your range?
We have stockists in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Knysna and East London. There is a list of stockists on our website, and they are available online from Africandy.com. We will also have our range on display and for sale at Stable, opening in Cape Town next month.
The Minima Lighting range retails from approximately R1 000 to R6 000. Contact Jacques on email@example.com for more information.