VISI 112 Is Here

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I recently read a story about a chair. It caught my eye for a couple of reasons.

Its classic mid-century aesthetic was one; the other was the fact that we’re doing a piece on designer chairs for this issue (page 24). I liked it for its thin beech legs and spindle-back design, but what I loved was the story behind the chair’s origins. It’s a story that’s relevant to the world we’re living in – a story about design in adversity.

The Ercol chair – popular among design-minded homeowners in the 1960s and highly collectable now – has its roots in the austerity of post-World War II England. With much of Ercol’s manufacturing capacity taken up by the war effort, the company emerged after 1945 constrained by limited raw-materials supply and construction capabilities. And the simple, minimalist Ercol chair was the result. Like all design, it took what went before – in this case, the centuries-old Windsor chair – and created something fresh. Something sleeker and simpler; something that transformed country craft into minimalism.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how our current designers respond to these Covid-affected times. We’ve already seen some innovative re-imaginings of home spaces – our page 30 story on home-office pods is an example of that – but I’m really interested to see what kind of design comes out of what is clearly a fundamentally changed global zeitgeist.

Will commercial architecture turn away from high-rise corporate vanity projects? Will homes mirror a need to welcome the outside into the interiors we will now be spending far more time in? Will we see interior design reflect the need to simplify these spaces with a return and reinterpretation of minimalism? And will we see an enduring adoption of local design … and an African story like that of the Ercol chair?

– Steve Smith, Editor

info@visi.co.za

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Not sure where to find the magazine? Here is a list of stockists. You can also buy VISI 112 (as well as VISI 107, VISI 108, VISI 109, VISI 110, or VISI 111) via shop.visi.co.za.