WORDS Liz Morris PHOTOS Supplied
South Africa left an indelible mark on Sebastian Herkner when he visited a few years ago. Now, the star designer, acclaimed for his work with international companies such as Moroso, Gubi and Ligne Roset, has used this impression to create magic on our shores.
“I was attracted to the colours, light and sensual visual experience of South Africa,” says Sebastian of
the five-piece Aarde collection that he designed for Indigenus. “With Aarde, I wanted to express the multiple facets and layers of the landscape, the way the colours of the rocks, earth and sand change character during the day. I wanted to add this aspect to the design – layers of clay playing with the light and shadow.”
Indigenus is well-known for great collaborations with top local designers, but working with Sebastian – an international contemporary – is a first.
READ MORE: Q&A with Indigenus’ Peter van der Post
As the brand’s CEO Peter van der Post explains, there’s also synchronicity to the endeavour. “Indigenus already has an established international distribution network, but to grow further I felt we needed to expand our stable of designers,” he says. “Sebastian’s name kept coming up when I asked design colleagues around the world for suggestions.” Around the same time, Sebastian was introduced to Indigenus planters at the Toronto home of a mutual friend.
And once the serendipitous project kicked off, what resonated with Sebastian was the potential for a strong narrative – an important aspect of his design process. “I like that Aarde is produced in South Africa because I believe people are searching for the story of a product – where it’s produced, which materials are used, how sustainable it is,” he says. “When we invest in products now, we’re looking for companions for life, not a trend.”
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That Indigenus planters are handmade was another strong driver for Sebastian, who prefers working with craftsmen, and using real and honest materials. “I think this is, in balance, both avant-garde and now”, he explains.