Miami 2019 – Cape Town gallery Southern Guild is set to deliver an African-pop punch at DesignMiami/ with a Curio exhibition featuring major new works by 13 leading South African artists and designers. On show in the Magic City also a large-scale installation of molecule-inspired hanging pods by Porky Hefer.
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Porky Hefer’s Molecules leather collection comprises three large hanging orbs shaped like the chemical compounds they represent: Dihydrogen Monoxide, Fluoroheliate Monoxide and Hydrogen Difluoride. Wrapped in bright, brilliant leathers the pieces reference the international colour codes all atoms are known by: white for hydrogen, red for oxygen, green for chlorine.
The designs were manufactured by the leather artisans at Wolf & Maiden in Cape Town. The pods’ interiors are lined with plush sheepskin, inviting people to climb inside and nestle within. Molecules follows the artist’s fascination with the reactions and energy a piece can generate in a space. “Molecules are made up of atoms held together by chemical bonds that form as a result of the sharing or exchange of electrons, explore the complex bond of human connection – to each other and, most importantly, to the natural world.”
Dokter and Misses experiment with jagged shapes, odd proportions and stacked forms overlaid with textural surface treatments. The 5 works on show in Miami were inspired by the entropy and oversaturation the designers experience on a daily basis in downtown Johannesburg and in urban ecosystems in general. “The collection is in part inspired by Tramp Art and the notion of needing to be busy. It makes use of gestural marks, irregular forms and dysfunctional clutter.”
Zizipho Poswa unveils a new series inspired by traditional African hairstyles, called Magodi, the local term for such hairstyles. Two monumental vases named retain the imposing sensuality of the artist’s previous work, rendered with increased technical complexity to convey the intricacy of woven, braided and threaded hair.
Fashion designer Rich Mnisi pays homage to his grandma with his debut collection of conceptual furniture: two seats with rounded forms and strong physical presence. “She is a sacred, powerful and spiritual component of my being – her spirit, lessons and sacrifices have defied temporal limitations. I see her as symbol to pay homage to the role of African mothers whose stories are either seldom documented or given the light they deserve.”
The Intermissiøn Bench is the first limited-edition furniture piece produced by NØDE, a new design studio combining industrial design with modern production methods that comes out of Bronze Age Studio. Designed by Charles Haupt and Gerrit Giebel, the bench is produced out of a single piece of 20 mm thick, airplane-grade aluminium plate.
On show also Orrery I, a kinetic chandelier manufactured from anodised aluminium with hand-blown glass shades. The lighting is a product of MAK, Southern Guild’s in-house design label, in collaboration with NØDE. Inspired by old-fashioned orreries – mechanical models demonstrating the motion of the planets in the solar system – as well as Alexander Calder’s playful mobiles, the design features bifurcated arms connected by hinges that allow the multiple configurations.
Madoda Fani’s trio of ceramic side-tables in black clay makes use a robust mushroom shape while retaining the intricacy of the artist’s incised patterns. Hand-coiled and precisely carved, their rhythmical shapes call to mind overlapping fish scales or insect exoskeletons. “I burnished and smoke-fired according to the Zulu tradition”.
All photos: courtesy of Southern Guild.