Special Reports

Designers cross-pollinate at expo

Kelly Berman

With fashion designers crossing into areas such as homeware, design exhibitors are collaborating with one another more than ever before.

Aboda and Sandy Godwin

Here is a peek at some of the joint ventures that will be on the floor at the Design Indaba Expo this year.

Kaross and Goet
Hand-embroidered textiles meet pared-down wooden furniture in Kaross and Goet's creative partnership. Kaross began in 1989 as an initiative to help uplift rural Shangaan communities in Limpopo. It has since become a thriving business known internationally for its lush, colourful embroidery.

"Goet inspires us to unclutter a bit, be more contemporary in our approach to design and have a bit of fun," said Janine Pretorius, a director of Kaross.

Kaross, on the other hand, gives Goet an opportunity to showcase its clean-cut furniture design with tactile fabric. "Goet's brand is new and fresh and upcoming," said Pretorius. "It is a 'positive' to be involved with Kaross — part of the 'old-school' craft industry of South Africa."

Pamela Schroeder (Aboda) and Sandy Godwin
What happens when metal meets porcelain? Pamela Schroeder and Sandy Godwin's range of delicate tableware explores the marriage of these materials.

Schroeder has worked in Godwin's ceramic studio for the past three years. Schroeder hand forms porcelain and black stoneware to complement her range of nature-inspired metal flatware. Godwin works in porcelain, primarily on the wheel, and glazes her bowls using different lace patterns.

The idea of a collaboration was always there, they say, but it had to "be something unique, something which used two very diverse materials as a single means of expression," said Godwin.

Although it was a "logical next step", they said, it was also a technical challenge to see how porcelain and metal could be combined, while retaining each artist's persona and the inherent properties of the two materials.

Lorenzo Nassimbeni and Work
A shared passion for the urban landscape of downtown Johannesburg brought Lorenzo Nassimbeni and WorkDesign Initiative together to produce a range of upholstered furniture.

Nassimbeni has carved out a niche for himself through his textile designs and artworks depicting buildings in idiosyncratic line drawings. Work designs and manufactures wood and metal furniture reminiscent of the studio's gritty, industrial surrounds in Jeppestown.

For the new range, Nassimbeni designed a line of fabric called "Jeppe", with the pared-down aesthetic of Work's furniture in mind. Nassimbeni said the creative exchange took his design "to a higher, more daring plane. The ideas and thoughts that have come from our conversation have literally found their way onto the substrate of the fabric," he said. The collaboration was greater than the sum of its parts, said Work's JJ Maia. "We have changed our approach to soft furnishings, finishings and upholstery, using a unique in-house fabric instead of someone else's."

Zingiware
Chris Silverston, who founded The Potter's Workshop, is no stranger to collaboration. She joined forces with Kate Carlyle of Mustardseed & Moonshine to launch a new range of ceramics called Potterseed at the Design Indaba Expo last year. This year, her focus is on a range of jewellery, Zingiware, created with Leana Duncan.

Zingiware jewellery is made from silver and porcelain, adorned with the vivid, detailed patterns for which the Potter's Workshop has become known. The women share similar inspirations and fields of creative endeavour, explaining their collaboration as "inevitable".

Their creations are "stamps of hand-painted, sophisticated, wearable art that have a distinguished South African flavour," said Silverstone.

Although this article has been made possible by the Mail & Guardian's advertisers, content and photographs were supplied and approved by Design Indaba. It forms part of a larger supplement.

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