Gregor Jenkin is widely lauded as one of South Africa’s foremost designers. A self-proclaimed ‘maker of things’, his interest in engineering, intervention and re-imagining has shaped unique and storied pieces and a pared down vernacular that is at once nostalgic and highly contemporary.
The Gregor Jenkin Studio functions as an engineering environment – a systematic workshop that sets out to come up with solutions to certain problems. Each piece is a result of a search for a new way of doing something old. In this way, Jenkin and his small team strive to create functional objects that are at once thoughtful and, by extension, thought provoking. The Cape Town-based studio is inspired by hands-on production, well–thought out engineering and the beauty of the component and the system. The studio creates an array of short-run products that are at once sophisticated and accessible, yet strange and intriguing.
Jenkin was the first African designer to feature at Design Miami and has pieces in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art. He was the first recipient of the Design Foundation Icon Award in 2012, which he won again in 2017.
His self-titled solo show at Southern Guild’s gallery at the end of 2017 brought together a broad spectrum of work, both new and recently made. It included production pieces such as A Round Table with Hancock Legs, the Tobacco Fireplace and Long Sofa Table, as well as limited-edition works inspired by the tubular forms of silos and industrial components, such as Entertained Sideboard, Cantilevered Desk and A Piece of Furniture Made of Brick.
Southern Guild commissioned Jenkin to design an installation for BMW South Africa to mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of BMW Motorsport. The large-scale metal structure went on display with a BMW M5 Competition inside the gallery, bringing together Jenkin’s interests in space making and architectural form, with his passion for the brand.