The Molecules collection comprises three hanging seats modelled on a different chemical compound: Dihydrogen Monoxide, Fluoroheliate Monoxide and Hydrogen Difluoride.
Each comprises three rounded forms that are covered in a colour level to represent the different atoms, with white used for hydrogen, red used for oxygen, and green for chlorine. Hefer crafted the forms from a steel frame and then worked with Cape Town leather company Wolf & Maiden.
Circular openings puncture the forms to allow people to crawl into the pods, which are covered in a cosy white sheepskin.
The trio are all designed to hang from the ceiling by cables, and follow from a series of imaginative, hanging chairs created by Hefer. Others include human-sized nests made from woven plant stalks and a chair shaped like a killer whale that he exhibited at Design Miami 2015.
Also presented at this year’s Design Miami, Molecules forms the centrepiece South African design collective Southern Guild‘s exhibit at Design Miami 2019. All of the displayed pieces are newly launched collections from the collective’s South African talent. Southern Guild described their booth as “an exploration of vibrant colour, futuristic forms and strong shapes.”
“Rather than commenting on what it means to be a designer in South Africa today, these works remain open-ended and serve as observations and poetic glyphs that ask us to reflect on our relationships with each other and the world around us,” said Julian McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild.
Five pieces from Dokter and Misses’s series Practically Everywhere are also on display in the gallery’s space. The shelving units and cabinets combine jagged shapes and overlaid textures.
Dokter and Misses came up with the piece’s unique designs during observation of the routine happenings of downtown Johannesburg. The design’s uneven forms and use of pattern are evocative of Tramp Art – a technique that involves layering small geometric shapes of salvaged wood.
“The works were inspired by the entropy and oversaturation the designers experience on a daily basis in downtown Johannesburg and in urban ecosystems in general,” Southern Guild said. “Inspired in part by Tramp Art and the notion of needing to be busy, the cabinets and desk make use of irregular forms and dysfunctional clutter.”
A light fixture with five aluminium arms and spherical glass-blown lights by MAK and Nøde is also featured. Other sculptures and furnishings including a bronze figure by Justine Mahoney and colourful ceramic works by Zizipho Poswa.
Southern Guild is a design collective in South Africa founded in 2008 by Trevyn and Julian McGowan. It commissions, produces and exhibits works by a number of South African artists and designers.
Previous project by its designers include a series of surrealist light fixtures that Dokter and Misses created to experiment with glass and a lamp that mimics the trajectory of an orbiting moon.
Photography is by Hayden Phipps.