Founded by Trevyn and Julian McGowan – leading global proponents of African design through their Southern Guild platform as well as through Design Network Africa, Source, Watershed and Business of Design – GUILD International Design Fair brings limited edition collectible design from celebrated global galleries and designers, to The Lookout, V&A Waterfront, from 25 February to 1 March 2015.
How did GUILD come about?
Since 2011 we’ve been showcasing collectible South African and African design alongside the best global galleries, on platforms like Design Miami, Collective and Design Days Dubai. We felt that Cape Town’s World Design Capital 2014 designation presented a unique opportunity to bring the world to Cape Town. And now that legacy continues with GUILD 2015.
What makes GUILD different from other high-end international design-art fairs?
Rather than just a commercial platform, GUILD is led by collaboration and exchange. We have various international designers working with local companies to create work especially for GUILD this year – pieces that will be premiered here in Cape Town before being exhibited around the globe. For us, the most important thing about GUILD is the building of a cross-continental design dialogue.
Why the name GUILD?
GUILD explores the theme of ‘making’ at a very elevated, collectible level. I think of a ‘guild’ as an association of people sharing the same interests and goals, formed for mutual aid and to maintain standards of excellence. Similarly, more than just a fair for beautiful objects, GUILD represents the coming together of dedicated, focused curators, designers and institutions who are striving to preserve and provoke unique, groundbreaking design.
What can visitors expect to discover at GUILD?
Some very authentic design pieces! Some will be represented as solo works, while there are also very exciting collaborations taking place. The Haas Brothers’ (R & Company) Afreaks collection, which has been created in collaboration with Monkeybiz beading company and Bronze Age, is sure to be a highlight. And the collaboration between Lebanese siblings Carlo and Mary-Lynn Massoud (Carwan Gallery) and Imiso Ceramics and Bronze Age, is also something to look out for. It’s called Autopsy, and is based on the Massouds’ fascination with African fertility dolls. The collaborative work of our own Porky Hefer and Botswana’s Peter Mabeo is equally thrilling.
We also have origami artist Sipho Mabona from Lucerne bringing his iconic ceramic floor, and can’t wait for Stephen Burks Man Made to reveal The Others. Conrad Botes (presented by Bronze Age and Bennett Contemporary) will have a solo show of sculptural works, and London Connoisseur, run by esteemed design journalist Helen Chislett, will showcase a top collection from the British capital, with designs from the likes of Zeitz MOCAA architect Thomas Heatherwick, Jessica Zoob and Studio Swine.
GUILD feature artist, SA-born Kendell Geers (Carpenters Workshop Gallery) will be showing off his design pieces for the first time in SA, something we’re so excited to have at the fair.
Southern Guild will continue to fly the flag for local collectible design by some of our favourite South African designers, while Design Network Africa will introduce a new group of designers from the continent as it launches its next phase of the programme at GUILD. And then, there’s also the retail gallery ARTISAN by Watershed, which brings a curated collection of pieces from the V&A Waterfront’s new home for local craft and design to GUILD.
Tell us about your venue at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront.
GUILD will be housed at The Lookout, corner Granger Bay Boulevard and Dock Road, at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. It’s a fantastic site in every way as it benefits from the V&A Waterfront’s facilities and attendance – the Waterfront attracts over 24 million people a year and is the most visited site in Africa – but is also slightly set apart and exclusive.
And the setting is absolutely extraordinary, facing directly out onto the Atlantic Ocean with panoramic views of Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Greenpoint Stadium, Cape Town harbor and Granger Bay.
The deck at The Lookout will be transformed into The Striped Horse, a beautiful bar area where visitors can wile away the day. We also have a delicious food offering from Vagabond, so a visit to The Lookout during this time will be extremely enjoyable for the entire family.
Are there any activities for us to diarise?
Yes! I’ll be giving curator guided tours of the fair (see website for details), and there will be an exciting Designers on Site programme on Thurs 26 Feb and Sat 28 Feb, 2-4pm, where designers and gallerists will be talking audiences through their concepts and designs on view, right at their booths. To book, email email@example.com
We’re also having Studio Swine (London Connoisseur) create pieces on site, and there will be other designers working from GUILD too, so there will be some great action to witness. And The Maker Library Network will be bringing its mobile library to the fair on Thurs 26 Feb for visitors to engage with. It’s all rather exciting!
How do we get there?
There’s a parking bay right at The Lookout, but we also have a free Art & Design shuttle bus, courtesy of City Sightseeing, that will be stopping at GUILD every half hour, as well as at the Cape Town Art Fair and Zeitz MOCAA, and the CTICC, so visitors can experience a whole host of activities in one day without having to drive back and forth themselves.
Tracy Lynn Chemaly
021 461 2856