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Southern Guild’s visceral work for Design Miami

Southern Guild creates a nature-inspired fantasy-scape by iconic South African artist Porky Hefer for Design Miami 2018

Southern Guild returns to Design Miami from 4-9 December with a collection of visceral and immersive work that defines a bold new vernacular for collectable African design. Following up on the sell-out success of Porky Hefer’s work at this year’s Design Miami/ Basel, Southern Guild’s booth will feature four of his cocoon-like seating environments handcrafted from leather and woven grass. Suspended from the ceiling, wall mounted and floor based, the works mimic forms found in nature to transport audiences to a childlike state, awake to instinct and immediate perception.

Hefer’s works have become an intriguing feature on the global design circuit. His human-scale nests and living pods are both fantasy world and functional furniture – beautifully crafted, they evoke innocence and wild abandon. Their apparent playfulness belies the depth of thinking inherent in the work. Recurring themes are the loss of instinct, humanity’s preoccupation with received wisdom, and the lessons implicit in the natural world. Hefer has had numerous solo presentations of his work, including at R & Company, New York, the inaugural London Design Biennale, and Design Miami/Basel 2018, where Southern Guild and SFA Advisory co-presented his acclaimed project Endangered to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

At Design Miami, Southern Guild will also launch a number of specially commissioned new works in bronze. These include a biomorphic table by Kenyan-born sculptor Stanislaw Trzebinski, titled Extra Terrestrial; a pair of zoomorphic seats by rising star Atang Tshikare; Xandre Kriel’s reductive Vos Altar table, featuring folded-steel legs and a softly textured bronze slab; and Charles Haupt’s organic Tropism Mensa Foliorum table reflecting patterns found in nature.

“Our artists have a deep connectivity to their chosen materials and the natural world that surrounds them in Africa. Each has a distinctly unique viewpoint, conveyed through the works and the stories they tell,” said Julian McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild.

This is the sixth year that Southern Guild has exhibited at Design Miami. The gallery has spearheaded the collectable design category in Africa, propelling artists and designers to make spirited, challenging, and complex work. A decade old this year, its rigorous programme has shaped global perceptions of African design, exploring culture, heritage and narrative, and forging a unique vernacular in the marketplace.


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