Metal mania

WORDS Nadine Botha

Southern Guild ArcelorMittal SA Heavy Metal was an independent exhibition of high-end design investment pieces in the Woodstock Foundry at the same time as Design Indaba. Is this the beginning of a design-fuelled fringe festival?

Trevyn and Julian McGowan, the directors of Southern Guild, were not the only people to piggy back their event on the influx of design professionals into the Mother City. The European Light and Design Centre flew in Giullermo Simo Pascual from FLOS Italy to launch Patricia Urquiola’s new Tatou series, and Sodastream SA took the opportunity to celebrate the new Yves Behar-designed machine.

The Heavy Metal exhibition’s opening was perfectly timed: straight after the first day of the Design Indaba Conference. A live performance by Them Tornadoes, kinetic fire sculpture by Brendhan Dickerson, food trucks, and lots of wine and bubbly made for a stylish but laidback party atmosphere. Celebrated Malian designer Cheick Diallo showed work, and conference speaker David Adjaye made an unofficial appearance and whirlwind tour of the work.

With over 40 pieces on show, also noteworthy about Heavy Metal was the number of top South African designers and artists who were not exhibiting at the expo. Gregor Jenkin, Andile Dyalvane, Porky Hefer, Dokter and Misses, Joe Paine and many others chose to make a single statement piece for Heavy Metal, rather than creating a mass of low-cost high-turnover wares that typically do well at the expo.

“With the Heavy Metal exhibition we want to celebrate this age-old tradition of designers working in steel, bronze, copper, aluminium, gold and silver and the beauty of the raw material, but we equally want to throw a spotlight on the durability and appropriateness of this material in tough economic times when high quality investment pieces are, rightly, favoured over cheap, mass-produced, low-quality objects,” said Trevyn.

VISI thinks that it is fantastic that the South African design industry has grown to this point and the quality of the work on display said it all. In particular, we loved Ceramic Matters’s Dream Dolls, Dokter and Misses’s on-trend use of colour, Haldane Martin’s fabulous Hex brass tables and Guy du Toit’s whimsical hare tables.

For more of Southern Guild’s design collaborations, visit their website