South African design collaboration: Future Heirlooms 2024

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Collected works from Future Heirlooms 2022

Future Heirlooms 2024 engages participants from cross-disciplinary backgrounds with a focus on the South African interior design and architecture communities. The designers are invited to design an object for domestic use using American red oak. The Future Heirlooms theme invites the designers to conceive a piece that lasts for generations to come and be of a quality that makes it worth keeping, and of collectible value.

For the design, designers might look to the contemporary furniture market to create something that will have a unique presence in the marketplace, not necessarily a commercial one (although it may also have that quality). Designers are also encouraged to consider antique typologies to reinterpret an object that was once useful, or relevant to the age, but is no longer commonplace. Equally designers can look ahead to new typologies – to create an object that could be of value in our rapidly changing future. The spirit of the challenge is to celebrate individuality, expressionism, quirkiness, and beauty in the design of the limited edition collectible piece.

The five selected African designers are:
• Moea Design Studio Duo: Cassandra Twala, designer and multidisciplinary creative entrepreneur and Johanna Von Stein, designer and architect
• HerArtFelt Studio: Juliet M. Kavishe, interior architect and design educator
• Earthworld Architects: Andre Eksteen, architect and academic
• Isa MBU - LA Ndabo Langa: architect and founder of DGIT architects Bandile Mbuli, Indigenous craft inspired creative director and costume designer
• Nkuli N. Nhleko – art curator at Everard Read Gallery and the founder of Imbewu Design interior design studio

Future Heirlooms 2024 follows Future Heirlooms 2022 and set the calibre and the tone for FUTURE HEIRLOOMS 2024 through the hugely successful first round of the call. Created in American red oak by celebrated hardwood furniture designer-manufacturers Houtlander and timber importers BOS Timbers, the seven pieces — by Dokter and Misses, MashT Design Studio, TheUrbanative, Kumsuka, Kalki Ceramics, Joe Paine in partnership with Nathan Gates, and NØDE Studio — are a celebration of material and memory, and ask pertinent questions about our approach to the environment. 

The project is a collaboration between American Export Hardwood Export Council and Always Welcome, a multi-brand collective retailer of Southern Africa's leading designer homeware with showrooms in Johannesburg and Cape Town, Namibia and Hamburg, Germany. As a highly successful commercial venture, Always Welcome has enabled rapid go-to market success for African designers since its launch in 2021. The Future Heirlooms 2024 project forms part of a series of initiatives driven by the AW platform called AW/AGILE - committed to introducing, enabling and nurturing the pipeline of designers to meet the demand for Africa’s rising talent both locally and abroad. 

Roderick Wiles, AHEC Regional Director says: “Building on the success of the launch edition of Future Heirlooms our 2024 challenge will offer our select African cross-disciplinary designers a unique opportunity to design a piece that explores alternative manufacturing methods, and the beauty and versatility of American red oak itself.”

Learn more here


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