The Interdependence II bench, designed by Houtlander
  • A bright blue 'love seat' won the top prize at this year's Design Indaba.
  • It has been voted as the most beautiful object in South Africa.
  • The twisted bench was produced by the Joburg-based furniture maker Houtlander.

A twisted love seat has been named South Africa's most beautiful object in 2019 at this year's Design Indaba, an annual conference for the creative industries, held in Cape Town.

The bright blue curvy bench, named "Interdependence II", is a playful spin on the traditional love seat.

It was produced by the Joburg-based furniture maker Houtlander. 

Houtlander is a relatively new venture by two furniture makers, Phillip Hollander and Stephen Wilson. They produce furniture that reflects South African and Scandinavian craft traditions at their workshop in Roodepoort. No screws or metal fixings are used in their furniture

The bench was nominated by Nandi Dlepu, founder of the creative studio Mamakashaka,

“The manufacturing ability exhibited with this product is applaud worthy, I really love that it’s an abstraction of something familiar. A shakers style love seat with a twist, literally,” said Dlepu.

It was named the most beautiful object by popular vote at the Design Indaba.

Hollander and Wilson said their aim is to manufacture "beautiful, useful furniture that they want to live with".

The love seat originates from the 19th century in the US. Originally it was a sofa for two people, in an S shape with a mutual armrest between them. Courting couples could face each other, but they didn't sit directly next to each other.

These were the winners in previous years:

2018: Tutu 2.0. A pendant light designed by Thabisa Mjo

According to the designer, it is an evolution of the iconic ballet outfit mingled with hallmarks of an African counterpart, the Xibelani skirt. Often worn by Tsonga women, the Xibelani skirt is known for its structural, tiered layers and colourful vertical pleats.

2017: The Sankara Rug, by textile designer Nkuli Mlangeni

Mlangeni aimed to celebrate the dying culture of traditional textile weaving.

2016: Xhosa-inspired shawl by Laduma Ngxokolo

The design is unisex and can be styled in over twenty different ways, and reflects Ngxokolo's characteristic isiXhosa aesthetic.

His clothing range "MaXhosa by Laduma" - primarily knitwear - has emerged as one of South Africa's fastest-growing fashion exports, It is garnering celebrity endorsements from across the globe - including from the new "carioca funk" phenomenon in Brazil, Dream Team do Passinho, to Beyoncé and Alicia Keys.

 

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