Handcrafted decor, lighting and furniture artisans, Arkivio Umhlanga, will be among those showcasing new ranges at the 100% Design South Africa exhibition, which takes place alongside Decorex at Gallagher Convention Centre in Johannesburg from Friday to Tuesday.
This year it includes a design supermarket – a ready-to-shop pavilion that allows independent designers to sell their wares – and includes the likes of Maiden, Arkivio, Rialheim, Skylert, Iloni, Tydloos, Masterwire and Beaders, Design on Textile, Minitza, Mia Melange and Storm in a Tea Cup Ceramics.
Arkivio will be taking along their glass garden, geometric and standing mirrors as well as glass clocks.
For them, business is about quality rather than quantity.
Established in 2015 by Industrial Designer, Paul Rabinowitz and Economist, Lance Surgeson, the business which operates out of a studio in KwaZulu-Natal is and will remain small.
The pair are co-owners, designers and crafters and have two staff.
Their primary medium is glass and they take a contemporary approach to the stained glass method of artisan work.
Surgeson says, “We’re passionate about creating long-lasting products of high value by manufacturing locally, using a mixture of artisan techniques, and working with modern technologies.
He left his job in 2014, having felt restless in what he was doing. He approached Rabinowitz with a few ideas for products he was interested in making.
With just a few basic soldering tools they cut, taped, soldered, patinaed and packaged every item by hand.
They’ve since made a name for themselves within the industry with just two product series – the glass garden range of succulent vases and wall hanging geometric mirrors.
Surgeson says, “We’ve been refining these both over the last year and keep improving the quality based on customer feedback.
"We’re bringing two new products to the 2016 Decorex, a wall mounted bedside lamp which can swing 180 degrees, and a full length self standing mirror. Both of these make use of black powder coated mild steel elements which we’ve cut and hand-bent to shape in our studio.”
Their philosophy, surely a winning formula in the handcrafted market, is to stay small but superb.
“We’re focusing our attention on growing online sales from our website and networking with interior designers and firms of architects on a project basis.
“Our plans are to continue developing great products focusing on training and efficiency in our workshop and growing relationships with architecture firms and designers around the country, while channelling all sales through the online store. The next phase will include some kind of retail space, with focus on international trade and the bigger picture of a global brand.”