"When I founded the company, I wanted the opportunity to share my experience of finding great design by emerging artists around the world,” says Bob Allred of Allred Collaborative (formerly known as Juniper House). “Today, there is high-quality craftsmanship coming from Africa, and some of the best glass blowers are in China. There are also outstanding modern tile and upholstery designs from Mexico. It is exciting to find centuries-old, hand-crafted techniques being reinterpreted in modern design.”
Here, three companies from the Artisans and Designer Series celebrate individual skill, native materials, and design perspectives from across the globe.
In 2013, Laurie Wiid van Heerden established this studio in his native Cape Town, South Africa, and has since been racking up design awards and accolades. One of the most sustainable materials in the world forms the basis of a number of pieces “that explore the notion of luxury” while pushing the boundaries of the material. The brand began experimenting with cork more than 11 years ago. A stream of innovative designs have secured its status as a means to creating high-end furniture, lighting, tableware, and collectible objects.
Few may stop to consider the scenic impact a planter can have on an architectural site or landscape until they notice one that has enhanced the ambiance via just one pot. South Africa’s leading artists make up the design pool for this brand’s gargantuan, sculptural planters. Skilled artisans equipped with top-quality materials then hone each design with great attention paid to strength, hardiness, and finish. Approved designs must allow “for a deeper human connection with nature while acting as magnificent art pieces in their own right.”
Woven lidded boxes, fringe-trim baskets, and decorative plates embody the culture and traditions of rural African communities across Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana. Using sustainable materials, this brand’s weavers create a stable life for their families through fair wages and meaningful work that connects them to their heritage. Kazi means employment in Swahili, and the company has helped create jobs for more than 3,600 artisans since 2013.