Image: Themba Mbuyisa

The biggest curated platform for design in Africa, 100% Design South Africa took place at Gallagher Estate earlier this month. Visitors were treated to a multi-disciplinary selection of local design and the programme included notable exhibitions from both renowned and up and coming creatives.

A few members of the ELLE Decoration team attended the showcase and shared 5 of their highlights below:

Leigh Robertson, ELLE Decoration Editor

  • Chairs. #somanychairs – These were the hero pieces of this year’s 100% Design South Africa, helped along by the fact that the show hosted an exhibition titled Seed to Seat, an initiative of the American Hardwood Export Council. Following similar competitions around the world, seven South African designers were tasked with conceptualizing and prototyping a chair using sustainable timber, and the results were magnificent. Joburg design stars Dokter and Misses created their Blue Chair as a wooden (they used tulipwood) reimaging of their very first light-steel chair designed 10 years ago. Laurie Wiid van Heerden’s Meraki Daybed, in American soft maple and his signature cork, was exactly what tired legs needed after a day of walking the show flat. A newcomer to 100% Design, which happened to have one of the best stands, was Joburg company Houtlander, whose bright red Coronation bench was possibly among the most coveted (and therefore Instagrammed) pieces to be seen.

  • Mema Design Lights. –  Beautiful, unusual and ethereal, these woven aluminium lights by designers Sian Eliot and Ari Geva were absolute showstoppers.
Mema design lights. Image: Supplied
  • Gregor Jenkin is back – While the Cape Town-based designer has never really gone away, this year he just happened to present a brilliant new body of work that proves he’s possibly this country’s most accomplished and original designer (unsurprisingly, he was awarded Best Designer at the show). With a solo stand to present his latest pieces (a notable fireplace included) as 100% Design SA’s Feature Designer for 2017, his stand-out collaborative work on show at the Caeserstone Concept stand was also breathtaking.
Gregor Jenkin.
Image: Themba Mbuyisa
  • We Are Joburg – Curator Cathy O’Clery outdid herself in compiling this considered and perfectly executed exhibition, which showcased pieces created especially for the show by a who’s who selection of Johannesburg-based designers, including Tonic and David Krynauw.
  • The Light Tank. – This multisensory installation masterfully combined light, sound and animation for a dazzling spectacle that was really quite hard to tear yourself away from. Set to trippy electronic music, LED lights sparkled in dramatic bursts of luminous colour, making it an obvious hit on Instagram.
The Light Tank. Image: Supplied

Lungile, ELLE Decoration Assistant

  • The Urbanative- Umganu Drinks Cabinet by Mpho Vackier – This cabinet was one of the first things that caught my eye.
 I was immediately drawn to the design and use of 2 and 3-dimensional design.
The Urbanative’s Drink Cabine
  • Caesarstone & Weylandts – The gold handles add luxury to the cabinet. Easily one of my favorites.
Caesarstone & Weylandts
  • The Ninevites Rugs – Their designs are authentic and typical of Southern African design with each pattern making use of strong geometric shapes using either black wool or a bright colour which brings movement and dimension to the rugs. The rugs are not only limited to the floor but make great wall art too.
The Ninevites. Image: Themba Mbuyisa
  • Ceramics Emkhathini by Sibusiso Nkosi – What I liked the most about Sibusiso’s range were
 the images printed on the vintage appliances. He used vintage appliances and painted them in the primary colours- Red, blue & Yellow- then added images on the top and the side of each piece.
Ceramics Emkhathini. Image: Themba Mbuyisa
  • SENZO –  I was instantly drawn to the interlinked faces painted
 on different ‘canvases’ like walls, floors, bags,
vases and
 the list goes on. What I love about his work is the
 constant movement of the eyes created by the interlinked images.

Ntombenhle Shezi, Elle Decoration Assistant Editor

  • The Urbanative’s Drink Cabinet (part of the We Are Joburg Exhibition) – Made out of walnut with brass detailing, the cabinet is both stylish and functional.
  • The Ninevites Rugs – With Ndebele-inspired graphics, the rugs are a celebration of a rich culture of weavers from Southern Africa and South America.
  • Houtlander’s Coronation Bench–  The winner of this years 100% Design Best Furniture Award exemplifies an outstanding modern design ethic.

    Coronation bench. Image: Supplied
  • Sheila Madge’s Fantome Dress (Part of the Young Gauteng Exhibition) – A memorable design that cleverly sits comfortably both on the runway and in an exhibition space.
  • David Krynauw’s Play Bench 2 – The interactive element of this design made it both fun and fascinating to engage with.
David Krynauw’s Play Bench. Image: Themba Mbuyisa