Africa’s only international design fair, GUILD International, has returned to Cape Town until March 1. A remarkable legacy of World Design Capital, the event attracts designers, collectors and lovers of all things beautiful to The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront. This year, the focus is on collaboration, with exhibitions featuring global design partnerships and the rich opportunities that exist for working with African studios.
“The most significant development from last year’s fair is the collaboration that has been established for GUILD 2015 – an exchange of design ideas, and a transfer of skills and knowledge,” says GUILD co-founder Trevyn McGowan.
In fact, much of the bespoke, limited edition design that is on display at GUILD, was produced by African and international heavyweights who linked-up exclusively for the fair.
“GUILD isn’t just about showing South Africans what is happening in design worldwide. It also gives recognition to our own local design industry, showing it off in its own right to audiences at a collectible, limited-edition level,” McGowan says.
Notably, the ‘epitome of cool’, Los Angeles-based The Haas Brothers have been travelling back and forth to South Africa producing a new collection in collaboration with South Africa’s Monkeybiz.
Premiering at GUILD, ‘Afreaks’ displays the extraordinary freedom of expression the twin brothers gave their South African counterparts– allowing them to put their own stamp on the work and instilling in them the confidence of high-level artists.
Intricate human nests will also be on display, as part of a collaboration between Peter Mabeo from Botswana and South African conceptual designer Porky Hefer. The Massoud siblings, presented by
Carwan Gallery in Lebanon, explore the theme of fertility with Cape Town-based ceramicist Andile Dyalvane and Bronze Age Foundry.
GUILD is hosting some of the most recognised names in the world. The prestigious Carpenters Workshop Gallery, from Paris and London, is showcasing design pieces by Kendell Geers. This is the first time the South African artist, who lives in Belgium, has shown design works on home ground.
Esteemed UK-based journalist Helen Chislett brings her gallery London Connoisseur, presenting work from Thomas Heatherwick, Studio Swine and David Adjaye. South Africa’s Conrad Botes has a solo show of large-scale sculptural works.
Stephen Burks Man Made presents The Others at GUILD. The work, by American industrial designer Stephen Burks, features anthropomorphic paper lanterns wrapped in brightly coloured satin ribbon. The Others stand at the height of passers-by and, quite literally, wink and stare back.
“GUILD is not your average commercial design fair,” says McGowan, whose Cape Town-based gallery Southern Guild are now regulars at leading global fairs like Design Miami, Collective and Design
Days Dubai with a spectacular following.
At Design Days Dubai 2014, for example, Southern Guild represented an unprecedented 12% of total sales and earned Trevyn and her partner, husband Julian, a place on Art and Auction’s Power 100 list 2013.
“GUILD has opened the flood gates for South African and African designers to work alongside the best in the world,” she says.
Fair director guided tours
Experience GUILD on an intimate tour with its co-founder Trevyn McGowan.
• Saturday, February 28: 12pm – 12:45pm
• Sunday, March 1: 12pm – 12:45pm
Designers on site
Meet the designers as they discuss their works on show at GUILD.
• Thursday, February 26: 2pm – 4pm
With: Carwan Gallery, Studio Molen, Stephen Burks Man Made, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, London Connoisseur, The Haas Brothers (R & Company)
• Saturday, February 28: 2pm – 4pm
With: Mabeo Furniture with Porky Hefer, Sipho Mabona, Bennett Contemporary and Bronze Age present Conrad Botes, Design Network Africa, Southern Guild
* Fair hours from Thursday, February 26, to Saturday, February 28, are from 10am – 8pm; and on Sunday, March 1, from 10am – 6pm.
Tickets are R80 per person and R50 for Students & Pensioners, and are available at Computicket and at the door. Entry for is free for Children under 12.
Free Art & Design Week Shuttle:
Hop on the Free Art & Design Week Shuttle, run by City Sightseeing Cape Town, and get to the Cape Town Art Fair, GUILD, and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), hassle-free.