Leaders of South African design were honoured on Saturday, 23 July at the fourth annual Southern Guild Design Foundation Awards ceremony, held at Southern Guild Gallery in Woodstock, Cape Town. The awards recognised the industry’s top achievers as trailblazers in local design, manufacture, commerciality and innovation.
Seven companies were awarded under the categories ‘Icon’, ‘Object that Moves’, ‘Maker to Market’, ‘Manufacture’, ‘Future Found’, ‘Apprentice’ and the newly introduced ‘Design with Purpose’, with the awards acknowledging both highly successful companies, and designers entering into the industry.
‘A Design Foundation Award is one of the most prestigious accolades a South African design company can receive,’ says board member Trevyn McGowan. ‘It’s not solely about recognising immense success and awarding new talent – the awards are part of the foundation’s greater goal to support the industry and aid in its country-wide growth.’
Durban local Siyanda Mbele of Pinda Furniture Design was awarded the Future Found Award in recognition of the excellence he has already achieved with limited resources. Through sponsorship by 100% Design South Africa, Siyanda will exhibit at the August trade show, while being guided and mentored by relevant Design Foundation board members throughout the coming year.
Wonki Ware, the iconic ceramic company based in George, received the Object that Moves Award, celebrating its commercial success both locally and internationally, with record global-retailer sales having been consistently achieved.
‘That companies from around South Africa are being recognised shows the strength present in the local design industry,’ says McGowan, who points to the new award, Design with Purpose, having been awarded to a company based in Rustenburg.
This recipient, Repurpose Schoolbags, was lauded for its focus on social responsibility while maintaining strong design values. The company positively impacts the lives of communities by producing schoolbags from recycled plastic, with a solar panel that charges up during the day and transforms into a light so that children living in homes without electricity can study at night.
‘Design is not only an aesthetic ideal – it exists to solve problems and create solutions. Whether it’s a seating option or resolving a social issue, we want to highlight those who are really making an impact in South Africa in order to motivate others to do the same,’ McGowan attests.
The awards were judged by a Design Foundation Board sub-committee, with nominations received from past winners and an external jury of industry insiders that included Andile Dyalvane (Imiso Ceramics), Angus Campbell (Department of Industrial Design, University of Johannesburg), Lianne Burton (communications strategist), Tracy Lynch (curator and interior designer) and Zahira Asmal (The City).
The highly revered Icon Award, sponsored by American Hardwood Export Council, was awarded to Johannesburg design company Dokter and Misses, run by husband and wife Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin. The duo was recognised for its major trajectory over the past 18 months, which includes having participated in a focused exhibition of African design at R & Company in New York last year, and continually showing at the top design fairs around the world with Southern Guild, with bespoke work being commissioned for some of the best homes and hospitality venues around the world. Dokter and Misses currently has work on show at Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and its involvement in developing a solar-powered WiFi bench for public areas shows the company’s far-reaching effect within its own country.
Previous Icon Award winners include Gregor Jenkin, Porky Hefer and Andile Dyalvane, all who have gone on to achieve further success both locally and abroad, with Dyalvane’s solo exhibition at prestigious New York gallery Friedman Benda currently on show, and Hefer’s work representing South Africa, through Southern Guild, at the London Design Biennale this September.
Other awards went to Woodheads, Pichulik and Apprentice Award recipient Jason van der Linde, with each of the seven winners receiving a bronze gorilla sculpture, now a Design Foundation Award tradition, sculpted by Otto du Plessis from Bronze Age Foundry.
The award ceremony was attended by top industry insiders, designers, local media and VIP guests, with wine from KWV and Laborie, beer from Striped Horse, and ice tea from BOS. Creative Brands ensured that all vinyl print work set the scene for a night of celebration and recognition.
2015 / 2016 Southern Guild Design Foundation Award Winners
Icon Award, sponsored by American Hardwood Export Council, is awarded in recognition of work produced by a highly regarded South African design company, acknowledging outstanding achievement, innovation and career advancement.
Winner: Dokter and Misses (Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin)
Object that Moves Award, sponsored by House and Leisure, celebrates the designer of an original product that has experienced great commercial success – aspirational and top-end, yet commercially viable to sell in multiples.
Winner: Wonki Ware (Di Marshall)
Maker to Market Award, sponsored by Adams & Adams, goes to a design company that understands the value of marketing, consumer interaction, packaging and delivery. Adams & Adams will offer its professional lawyer services to this company.
Winner: Pichulik (Katherine-Mary Pichulik)
Manufacture Award, sponsored by Bronze Age, is in recognition of a manufacturer who has gone beyond expectation to aid designers in realising their products.
Winner: Woodheads (Richard Harris and Geert Schuiling)
Future Found Award, sponsored by 100% Design. 100% Design will offer a young designer who has already achieved excellence with limited resources a space to exhibit at this year’s trade show.
Winner: Pinda Furniture Design (Siyanda Mbele)
Apprentice Award, sponsored by Wiid Design. The winner is offered a 12-month internship to work alongside this multidisciplinary designer and craftsman.
Winner: Jason van der Linde (industrial design graduate, University of Johannesburg)
Design with Purpose Award, sponsored by Creative Brands, recognises socially responsible work done by a company or designer, within the South African landscape, with a focus on design aspects, that makes a difference in the lives of communities.
Winner: Repurpose Schoolbags (Thato Kgatlhanye)