Southern Guild at Design Miami/ Basel 2013

Founded in 2008 by Trevyn & Julian McGowan, Southern Guild is a Johannesburg-based gallery and initiative that showcases both iconic and contemporary  works by South Africa’s leading designers. Not only are they pushing South African designers to enter a global design discourse, they are also rallying for the world to recognize the uniqueness and technical virtuosity of the country’s most cutting-edge furniture and object designers. Many are certain to take notice as Southern Guild makes its very first Design Miami/ Basel appearance in just a couple weeks.

This hanging dwelling space by designer Porky Hefer, in collaboration with Audrey Esca, is modeled on the weaving and structure of a bird’s nest. An enclosed seat, the piece breaks with typical chair concepts and uses an inspiration derived from a local, natural system. Like all of Hefer’s nests, this piece is uniquely designed and intricately constructed, mimicking a South African aviary dwelling and bringing of a fresh design concept.

Also on view at Design Miami/ Basel 2013 will be a series of corner chairs, along a pedestal table, designed by Gregor Jenkin and William Kentridge. Jenkin and his studio create sophisticated, rural forms in an interesting combination of traditional woodwork and modern engineering. William Kentridge is a prominent South African visual artist known for his illustrations and films – and was the first patron to purchase a Gregor Jenkin table. For this collaboration, Kentridge sent the Jenkin studio a number of table designs created not out of pen or program – instead the designs were torn out from sheets of paper, which the studio then took and recreated in its original, jagged formation.

Renowned for work that contains a colloquial yet strongly contemporary aesthetic, Southern Guild will be showing pieces by sixteen designers. Some are recognizable and well-established, while others are emerging and known for their innovative concepts and executions. Dokter and Misses is a workshop and gallery lauded for furniture, objects, and lighting that blends modern, western principles with local flavor, and a germane illustration is this Kassena Server cabinet that pops with a bright, Bauhausian geometry.

In the interest of starting not only a figurative but a literal dialogue, Southern Guild will be bringing along ten of the designers showing, which is supported by South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry. The full list of designers includes Andile DyalvaneBrett MurrayBronze Age, Ceramic MattersConrad Botes and Paco PakdoustConrad HicksDokter And MissesDylan LewisGregor Jenkin in collaboration with William KentridgeJoe PaineLaurie Wiid van HeerdenMichaella Janse Van VuurenPieter HenningPorky HeferVogel + Plunkett, and Willowlamp.

Rob Goyanes