For Design Miami/Basel 2014, Southern Guild presents a dramatic, tactile and multi-faceted curation of South African collectible design by 19 artists. The gallery’s participation at the fair is made possible by the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), with the support of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda).
Highlights include Dokter and Misses’ Kassena Server, handmade from solid beech, whose shape and pattern is inspired by the homes of the Kassena people of Burkina Faso. The pattern is handpainted by Katy Taplin, in keeping with Kassena tradition where the female members of the tribe apply the home decorations.
Chaise Muse by artist-blacksmith Conad Hicks invites closer tactile inspection of the oxidised copper impression of a body already in repose. Another chaise, Fallen Bird’s Nest, is the latest evolution of Porky Hefer’s human-sized woven bird’s nests.
Many of the pieces take their cues from nature. Inspired by the spring flowers of Namaqualand’s desert, Bloom by John Vogel embodies the idea of transformation between ‘lifeless’ landscapes and the explosive exuberance of colour and rhythm. Nic Bladen turns South Africa’s national flower, the protea, on its head in an intricate bronze chandelier, created through his lost wax casting technique.
By comparison, Tonic Design find their inspiration in the dynamic urban energy of Africa with the Hawker Bench, reminiscent of the way in which hawkers set up shop by placing a plank between two chairs, on which to sell their wares.