Born in Cape Town in 1985, Jesse Ede is a self-taught designer who favours a materials and process-driven approach to furniture design. Working primarily in aluminium, stone, bronze and brass, he looks to celebrate the rawness of uncontrollable outcomes from processes that are uncommonly used.
Ede’s childhood was spent at the workbench of his father, an artist, designer, carpenter and leather worker, schooling him in a wide array of skills and sparking a deep love for craft. For eight years he worked as an artisan all around the world, including a long stint as a carpenter for a boat-building company in Antigua. Upon returning to South Africa, he opened a small design and manufacturing studio that provided custom interiors and furniture installations for clients in the commercial sector.
Ede’s work for Southern Guild is the outcome of a great deal of experimentation with open-cast smelting. He favours exposing and highlighting the organic nature of his mediums – manipulating them to expose the contrast between the material itself and the man-made processes that form them into collectible furniture. He sources his materials himself, visiting local quarries to select a piece of Malmesbury slate or granite – the character of which dictates his final design. Every new project sees him taking on a new design challenge and adding to his repertoire of skills.
Ede has exhibited regularly with Southern Guild since 2016, when his Lunar table – a tabletop of recycled aluminium open-cast onto a single block of slate – was selected for A New Wave, a group show of emerging South African designers. Ede’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, Of Space and Time, opened in August 2023.
Southern Guild has also presented his work at Design Miami, Christie’s First Open Design Auction, PAD London, Intersect Aspen and The Salon Art & Design in New York. His Lunar Diner tables are found in Xigera Safari Lodge’s main lodge, while his Orbit chandelier – hanging in the lodge’s wine cellar – was inspired by the movement of the galaxy’s moons around their planets.