Deeply connected to and inspired by the Delta, the interiors of Xigera will be sensitively designed to echo the natural world surrounding the camp and, even more intrinsically, the heritage of the land as far back as prehistoric times.
At its entrance, a hippopotamus-inspired hand-woven cane structure by Porky Hefer will gaze out over the river. Bushmen cave paintings will step forward as bronze warrior candlesticks by Otto du Plessis; delicately lapping rivers will flow into Conrad Hicks’ hand-forged copper and steel consoles. Adam Birch will spend months on site hand-carving benches and chairs that will twist and fold and gently hold the sitter. Guests will feel utterly connected and at one with their surroundings and the spirit of Africa.
All of the furniture throughout each space will be unique and collectible, rich with narrative and site-specific relevance. Led by Toni Tollman in consultation with award-winning gallery Southern Guild, the bespoke assemblage of pieces will take 18 months to produce, with each one-off item hand-made by the most globally recognised design names from Africa.
The Xigera Design collection will subtly and luxuriously meld with the lodge’s architectural immersion into the Delta. Ground-breaking in its scope and vision, it will be the first design project of this scale on the continent.
Cape Town-based sculptor and arborist, whose fascination and experience with timber as a medium is multi-faceted. From the unique forms and wood grain of each tree, he carves functional pieces of sculpture, most often transforming the discarded forks of trees into sensuously curved seats.
A multidisciplinary creative based in Cape Town, who specialises in sculptural furniture. A self-taught artist in a wide range of media, he was influenced by the visual storytelling and graphic style of his father – an anti-Apartheid activist who illustrated for various pan-Afri
One of South Africa’s foremost ceramic artists. Guided by a deep spiritual connection to his Xhosa ancestors, Andile’s complex, large-scale ceramic artworks are a metaphorical vessel through which he seeks to honour his cultural traditions and share his journey of healing.
Working closely with Otto du Plessis, he has spearheaded the functional design side of Bronze Age Studio, combining modern fabrication and digitally-driven design with traditional bronze sculpture-casting.
A master of hand-thrown ceramics, Chuma Maweni’s distinctive approach combines contemporary hand-coiled shapes marked with precisely patterned incisions. From his studio in Woodstock, Cape Town, he makes exquisitely crafted ceramic vessels and furniture, the latter finding their largest form to date in his sought-after Imbizo series of tables, side-tables and stool.
An artist, blacksmith and tool-maker in Cape Town who specialises in hand-forged metal work, using only traditional blacksmithing jointing methods as he believes these are essential to the symbolic meaning of the finished form.
Driven by the desire for a fresh approach, David experiments with different shapes and forms to produce unconventional and inspiring pieces. His Haywire chandelier, produced for Southern Guild, is an international best-seller that sold at London Christie’s and won the Object that Moves Award at the 2016 Design Foundation Awards.
Dokter and Misses
Husband-and-wife team Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin are Dokter and Misses, a multi-disciplinary product design company. Their respective industrial and graphic design skills combine to create work described as “modernist, where strong construction lines and a bold use of colour create graphic shapes and spaces.”
Widely lauded as one of South Africa’s foremost designers. A self-proclaimed ‘maker of things’, his interest in engineering, intervention and reimagining has shaped unique and storied pieces and a pared down vernacular that is at once nostalgic and highly contemporary.
A self-taught designer who favours a materials and process-driven approach to furniture design. Working primarily in aluminium, stone, bronze and brass, he looks to celebrate the rawness of uncontrollable outcomes, from processes that are uncommonly used.
One of South Africa’s foremost furniture designers, whose work has helped define a distinctly local vernacular. After exploring various materials, he settled on wood as his primary medium. Describing himself as a “three-dimensional storyteller”, he explores organic forms in an intuitive way in order to evoke an emotive response.
Through hands-on creative direction and mentorship, Julian has championed and elevated the South African design landscape over the past 15 years. He is chief creative officer of Southern Guild, which has spearheaded the high-end design category in Africa and propelled artist-designers to make spirited, challenging and complex work.
Laurie Wiid van Heerden
Often working collaboratively with other artists and across a wide variety of materials, Laurie’s product range spans furniture, lighting, tableware and collectible objects that combine specialist manufacturing with handcrafting.
Bold and emblazoned with character, the ceramic work of Madoda Fani carries a dramatically unique sensibility. Inspired by his African heritage, Madoda makes hand-coiled, burnished and smoke-fired pieces that are a contemporary evolution of the traditional ceramics indigenous to Southern Africa.
Meyer von Wielligh
Abrie von Wielligh and Norman Meyer co-founded Meyer von Wielligh, a carpentry and design studio based in George. Their large-scale functional art pieces are all intricately crafted, reflecting the organic lines and intricate textures of their natural surroundings on the forested Garden Route of South Africa.
Otto du Plessis
Primarily a sculptor specialising in figurative bronze work, he is the founder of Bronze Age Foundry in Cape Town, which he built into the bronze foundry of choice for many leading local and international artists. Together with designer Charles Haupt, he has fostered a new regard for bronze as a modern material equally suited to furniture, lighting, functional design and sculpture.
Fascinated by the reactions and energy a piece can generate in a space, Porky embraces Africa and the skills and processes that are readily available indigenously, rather than trying to emulate foreign processes. Making use of traditional techniques and crafts that focus on the hand rather than machinery, his work ensures that age-old skills are preserved and kept relevant in a modern age.
A designer at the very forefront of African fashion, Rich Mnisi founded his eponymous label in 2015. Widely heralded for his fusion of contemporary pop culture and traditional African heritage, Rich’s designs infuse his own personal narrative into extremist yet minimalist structures. He works across genders, seasons, geographical lines and creative disciplines, with a twin devotion to craftsmanship and experimentation.
Kenyan artist Stanislaw Trzebinski creates fantastical-sculptural works that explore human relationships with the natural world. Working primarily in bronze, his collectible furniture and sculpture express this intimate connection with nature, and in particular his fascination with marine life.
Cape Town designer Xandre Kriel creates limited-edition furniture through the use of simple geometry. The aesthetic appeal of shapes is his motivating force, and for nearly 11 years he has found a balance between working with the tactile properties of wood and the technological processes involved in steelwork.
A Cape Town-based ceramicist whose large-scale, collectible work takes inspiration from her own narrative as a Xhosa woman and artist living in contemporary South Africa. Alongside lauded South African ceramicist Andile Dyalvane, she co-founded Imiso Ceramics, whose handmade tableware has earned the studio an international following.