The Cabinet of curiosities

WORDS Debbie Loots

The Cabinet pop-up design gallery is going permanent and launching its new space on Thursday 8 May, during Cape Town’s First Thursdays, in the spot where the Spier Secret Courtyard was. An exhibition of Justin Plunkett’s surreal work is on the cards and we chatted to curator Jacki Lang about realising her childhood dream.

Jacki may be the new kid on the block in Cape Town, but she’s got some serious design street cred behind her. Not only has Jacki worked at Garth Walker’s legendary Orange Juice Design Studio but she has also done time at Britain’s ultra cool furniture manufacturer, Established & Sons. Now she is teaming up with her oldest friend to realise their childhood dreams through The Cabinet, a design gallery and pop-up space in Cape Town. Curious about this design curator, writer and consultant, we shot her a few questions.

What does a curator do, exactly?
The word “curator” has moved from its more formal museum context to mean many things. It brings the right people and the right pieces together in ways that tell a story.

How did you become the curator of The Cabinet?
My business partner, Daley Muller, and I have always wanted a place to make our ideas happen. When the right space opened, we jumped!

What did you do before The Cabinet? 
I worked as freelance curator and design consultant, and the last exhibition I curated and conceptualised was Lauren Beukes’s Shining Girl Art Show for Rape Crisis (see our gallery here).

You have worked with some industry super-celebs in London. Name-drop a few?
As gallery manager at Established & Sons, I was privileged to sell to prolific collectors and galleries, and work with designers like Barber Osgerby, Jasper Morrison, Zaha Hadid, Maarten Baas and the Bouroullec brothers. Not to mention the company’s founders, Alasdhair Willis and Sebastian Wrong.