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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


SA furniture design in all its glory

Notable pieces include beautifully proportioned hand-crafted items of furniture.


Strauss & Co’s South African Design, Past & Present – running until 26 June – is an exquisite showcase featuring a curated selection of furniture, metalware and ceramic art that bridges historical and contemporary design practices.

The items selected for this sale offer a taste of design that reflects the diverse influences, materials and forms shaping creative expression in SA.

The selection also provides tangible evidence of the innovation and diversity of artisanal excellence, deeply rooted in a knowledge of social, cultural and environmental influences.

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Notable pieces include beautifully proportioned hand-crafted items of furniture.

From the solid presence of the traditional beefwood armoire with its hammered escutcheons, to the gorgeously worn yellowwood meelkist and gate-leg table, each piece tells a story.

Gregor Jenkin’s laser-cut, blued-steel Kaapentry dining table showcases how tradition and utilitarian design can translate into objects of exceptional beauty.

The elegance and gravitas of his design imagines a narrative both old and new. This strong sense of art and design, entwined with living narratives, is evident in each piece – such as the beautifully sculpted Rooiels Botterbak and the codified initials around the handle of the Boer War Willow walking stick.

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Wiid Design features prominently in this sale, with a number of benches showcasing successful collaborations with artists.

The Curiosity Bench 5 with Anthony Harris from Ceramic Matters, highlights beautiful hand-drawn figurative motifs, contrasting with the Premise Bench 2, a collaboration between Wiid and Lionel Smit. Smit’s painted figures on the bench surface reflect his fascination with portraiture, figure studies and human identity.

Of particular note are two beautiful ironwood benches, each 3m long, capturing the history of the Cape.

The original centuries old 6m beams were reclaimed by the designer from the Castle of Good Hope grounds in 2015, and likely used as ballast in passing ships.

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In exchange for repurposing these beams into four benches, the designer presented the Castle of Good Hope with a bench honouring the life of Khoi girl Krotoa.

These Castle of Good Hope Benches are available for viewing by appointment at Wiid Design Studios.

The range of ceramics includes Hannah Massey’s evocative, quirky, almost anthropomorphic forms, along with the exquisitely balanced proportions of Thembi Nala’s flying saucer-like vessels.

The selection of ceramic art also features renowned studio potters like Esias Bosch, Tim Morris, Hyme Rabinowitz and Andrew Walford. A special treasure in the sale is the Chinese Export famille-rose Armorial dish, Qing Dynasty (1785-1791).

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This dish, commissioned for the Cape market, was part of “the last armorial dinner-service” made during the company’s regime, ordered by Cornelis van Aerssen Beyeren, Lord of Voshol, whose coat of arms it features.

In a contemporary twist, beautifully curated collections of Lucie de Moyencourt’s ceramic shells showcase her signature shapes and colourways.

This auction coincides with the Hermanus FynArts Festival 2024 and Strauss & Co’s Spotlight art sale – Art Rooted in Nature: Evening Sale (25 June) and Art Rooted in Nature: Day Sale (timed online 7-25 June).

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