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Design

Maker’s Spotlight – Southern Guild

September 19, 2022

Southern Guild's Cape Town gallery

Southern Guild’s gallery in Cape Town
Photo by Adel Ferreira, courtesy of Galerie

Southern Guild has become the “go to” source for those searching for cutting-edge South African design. However how they came to be reverts back to when the McGowans were living in London. Trevyn worked as an interior designer and Julian designed sets for West End Productions. Both would frequently source artisanal pieces for their varying projects from Artisan makers. Over time, the pair realized that their mission should be to expose the world to Africa’s designers. Within a short period of time, the couple launched “Source,” an export company.

Charles Haupt's Num Num Dining Table

Num Num Dining Table in bronze and glass by Charles Haupt
Image courtesy of Southern Guild

Source has been around since 2003; today, it is just one part of the couple’s multi-disciplinary firm, the Guild Group. Eventually, Trevyn and Julian decided that they should relocate to Cape Town, and in 2008 the Southern Guild gallery was founded. It quickly became “the place” to discover some of South Africa’s most innovative, creative, and revolutionary artists.

Orbit Coffee Table by Adam Birch

Orbit Coffee Table in Eucalyptus cladocalyx timber by Adam Birch
Image courtesy of Southern Guild

Southern Guild is devoted to locally-made design; they exhibit everything from furniture to jewelry, and each piece is 100% “African” and produced on a limited-edition basis. The featured works are created by a very wide range of artisans, including blacksmiths, woodcarvers, ceramicists, glassblowers, and cane-weavers, among others. The founders are dedicated to preserving and presenting traditional techniques… some of which have been passed down from generation to generation.

M. HELOISE BY PORKY HEFER

M. Heloise in leather, sheepskin, steel by Porky Hefer
Image courtesy of Southern Guild

The gallery participates in some of the world’s top fairs such as Salon Art + Design in New York and PAD London. Exhibitions are presented throughout the year and the annual collections have garnered many awards and caught the attention of some of the world’s premier architects, top collectors, and leading galleries and museums. Interestingly, the gallery is Africa’s first to present at Design Miami in 2011 and at Christie’s London design auction in 2015.

Zizipho Poswa at work in her studio

Zizipho Poswa at work on her iLobola Series
Image courtesy of Design Miami

There are so many amazing up-and-coming artists that South Guild represents. One of our favorites is Zizipho Poswa, a Cape town-based ceramicist who creates large-scale, hand-coiled sculptures. Poswa’s pieces are profound expressions of African womanhood. The artist says that she is inspired by the daily Xhosa rituals that she witnessed as a young girl growing up in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Each of Poswa’s works is named after either a family member or a close friend… this provides an actual personal connection between the artist and her support network.

Southern Guild's Extra Ordinary group show

Southern Guild’s 10th anniversary ‘Extra Ordinary’ group show in 2018
Image courtesy of Design News

As Trevyn says (courtesy of the gallery’s website), “We are looking for a distinctive voice and a strong personal narrative” Mission accomplished!

For more inspiration visit: Southern Guild

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