Local Furniture Design: Houtlander

WORDS Mary Garner

At the 100% Design South Africa exhibition in August 2017, little-known furniture brand Houtlander caught the eye of the judges and a design legend.

When Houtlander debuted a new collection at 100% Design South Africa in August, furniture makers Phillip Hollander and Stephen Wilson not only attracted attention for their craftsmanship but also won the Best Furniture Design Award for their Coronation bench.

The furniture they exhibited drew on Scandinavian traditions. The pieces, all made of oak, a durable wood with a lovely grain, are minimalist, functional and sturdy.

“We aim to make furniture that will last a long time,” says Phillip. The duo started out making furniture in a garage, and have now become full-scale manufacturers. “We have worked with almost any material imaginable,” says Phillip. “In a way that gives us a good understanding of how material should and shouldn’t be used. We see ourselves more as makers who have learnt how to design rather than designers by trade.”

None other than Gregor Jenkin was their first client at 100% Design South Africa – he bought 12 chairs, and a collaboration is on the cards. Phillip says they are looking forward to the creative process and to being guided by Gregor. And we can’t wait to see the result.