An Exhibition of Unusual Design
When ceramic artist Jan Ernst approached us with his idea for a showcase of unique, collectible design, we were thrilled at the opportunity to create something completely different. In partnership with Piet Smedy, Condé Nast House & Garden Editor-in-Chief, CUSP brought together eleven local designers to create novel pieces of functional art, focusing on materiality, craftsmanship and narrative.
Honoured to be exhibiting alongside some of the country’s top designers, we developed three totally new pieces, named Grassland 1, 2, and 3.
Grassland 1 is a one-armed armchair, inspired by the textures and shapes of the African grasslands. A throne in three parts, the chair is a work of collaboration with wood and metal sculptor Joe Mapfuno, and weaver Nomapopo “Victoria” Ralasi. The base woven from imizi river reed is an extension of the seat carved from fallen wood, following its natural curves. The seat grows organically into the arm then swoops into the backrest, which sprouts a thick tussock of grass.
Grassland 2 is a coffee table which also plays with natural textures. A balance of the weighty and the weightless, a raw slab of wood with its bark intact hovers gently on a tufty skirt of grass. It is as rugged as it is refined.
Grassland 3 looks up toward the trees. The woven imizi side table with its thick “trunk” takes its shape from the baobab tree, while a raffia fringe imitates a hanging curtain of aerial roots. Set into the centre of the tabletop is a white, black and green ceramic plate which mimics the growth rings of a tree – and the woven coils of a basket.
Hero image: Karl Rogers