Johannesburg - South African designers are getting a generous shot in the arm this year with the introduction on the African continent of the renowned international design exhibition 100% Design, which will run alongside Decorex SA from August 6 to 10.
100% Design started in London and has become the leading go-to show for forward-thinking design. “Following exhibitions in Tokyo and Singapore it was felt that the time was right to open on the African continent, and South Africa – the gateway for business throughout the continent – is the prime place to host this event,” says exhibition director Cairey Baxter-Bruce.
Sponsored by Dauphin HumanDesign Group, 100% Design South Africa is an international showcase for contemporary design with an African perspective, and local designers attending include designer Laurie Wiid van Heerden, leading ceramicist Madoda Fani, Willowlamp, creators of unique ball and chain chandeliers, the chic designer husband and wife team Dokter and Misses, Moonbasket, who have taken crochet to a whole new level in rugs, lights shades and bowls, and Pierre le Roux, who is launching a new range of African style contemporary furniture.
“As designers, we have the expense yearly of exporting our work to design shows abroad, so the 100% Design show is a welcome relief,” says Van Heerden, regarded as one of South Africa’s hottest design talents. “There is a growing awareness of South African design abroad, but local shows are important in ensuring awareness spreads here too.”
He will be presenting seven new pieces at the show, he says, including tables, chairs, barstools and hanging pendants – all made from cork – in the setting of a hip industrial-style bar, the Spier Cork Creative Bar.
Moonbasket, launched in 2010 by artist-cum-designer Dani Le Roy and crochet artist Laura Summs, will be presenting beautiful crochet light shades, stiffened bowls and rugs, mostly in black and white and other muted colours.
“These aren’t what you imagine when you think crochet. They are wonderfully inspired pieces that can fit comfortably in any contemporary setting,” says Le Roy.
Madoda Fani, meanwhile, has been hard at work in his studio in Orange Grove creating a new range of 10 or more pieces, mostly black burnished vases. “I’ve been experimenting with new techniques,” says Fani, who started his career at The Potter’s Workshop in Cape Town. Fani creates pots and vases using traditional shapes like beer pots or milk pails, and his designs are inspired by nature.
His vases will be placed with other new works from South Africa’s leading ceramicists on “The Long Table”, a ceramic exhibition co-ordinated by Anthony Shapiro and the team at Art in the Forest studio in Cape Town.
The table will be set in a forest atmosphere with a specially created wallpaper backdrop.
The 100% Design show was previewed at Decorex Cape Town in April. Among those who exhibited was Pierre le Roux, who introduced his range of striking, statement piece chairs cast in aluminum.
“The interest was more from foreign visitors than locals, so I’m hoping the Joburg show will help to launch my work to a much bigger audience,” he says.
“My chairs blur the line between art and functionality. They are very contemporary, but clearly born in Africa.”
Cathy O’Clery, programmes director of 100% Design South Africa, says the African continent is at a dynamic moment in design, and is set to become a place to watch in the coming years.
“African designers are totally conscious of the bigger design world and are beginning to be confident in offering their take. There is a creative restlessness here – people are tapping into the rich design resources and references South Africa has in droves and adapting them to urban contemporary living,” she says.
The show will take in residential, hospitality, office and product design, areas of massive growth potential for the industry as many sub-Saharan countries are in the midst of a boom, with attendant developments in these spheres. South Africa is where Africa does business with architects, specifiers, designers and interior designers.
Local companies on show include Vogel Designs, Tonic, Mezzanine and Design Team, while international brands include Dauphin, LigneRoset, Fritz Hansen, Hay, Arper, Magis and Artemideis.
One of the features bound to draw interest at the show is the Mr Price Home Colab Café. Since 2012, Mr Price Home has been collaborating with homegrown talent, including Wola Nani, Lisa Firer, Terry Angelo, Mick and Sally Haigh, Jan Douglas, Kiekie and Andy Cartwright.
“Being design-focused does not mean that a product has to be expensive. Mr Price Home produces affordable design which speaks to a huge variety of people,” says Laurence Brick, creative director of the show.
Many of the exhibitors will be hosting interactive activities, from wood turning to 3D printing, while industry experts from the local and international design scene will be delivering speeches throughout the show.
* 100% Design takes place in Hall 1, Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand. It runs from August 6-10. For more info, visit www.100percentdesign.co.za.
Helen Grange, The Star