Renowned local designer Haldane Martin is launching a new furniture collection at Design Joburg, as part of the DARLINGS feature, a platform that celebrates local design talent.
The range, entitled Endless Forms Most Beautiful, features the new Sim-ply chair range, which currently includes a dining chair, lounge chair and barstool, with more designs coming soon. The frame and legs are made from solid hardwood and the seats and backrests from birch plywood, veneered in walnut, ash or sprayed in a satin finish Pantone. The upholstery comes in a range of bold velvets.
Here, he tells us what we can expect from Design Joburg, as well as the new fully customisable collection.
What have you become known for or what defines what you do?
My early work as a furniture designer put my design company Haldane Martin Iconic Design on the map. Iconic pieces like the Songololo Sofa, the Zulu Mama chair collection and the Polyhedra Coffee Table, and later on the Source range and Hex tables, became internationally sought-after collector’s items for their combination of indigenous craft, biomimicry, cultural identity and geometric digital design. Our evolution into an interior design studio – with an emphasis on highly conceptual commercial interiors with custom-designed furniture and fittings – saw our brand reach new heights through the creation of award-winning spaces such as Truth Coffee in Cape Town (which has been twice named best coffee shop in the world). Our interior design is differentiated by an ability to tap into the essence of a brand’s identity and manifest this in an iconic, three-dimensional space.
What will you be unveiling at Design Joburg’s Darlings feature?
We are unveiling a new line of furniture at Design Joburg 2017 – Haldane Martin: Endless Forms Most Beautiful – which is a marked departure from our earlier work. We’re launching it with a range called the Sim-ply chair collection that will allow us to offer high-quality, environmentally conscious hospitality and residential furniture at an affordable price point. While our previous furniture pieces sought to create groundbreaking revolutionary designs, Endless Forms Most Beautiful is about taking existing design typologies and manufacturing techniques and evolving them to create beautiful, well-made, economical, on-trend, locally manufactured furniture designs available in customer-specific finish options. The line is named after a quote by evolutionist Charles Darwin:
“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
– The Origin of Species
Is there a design movement or style that informs your creations?
For interiors I am quite “pluralistic” – whatever is right for the client and context – but always iconic. Bringing the client’s brand identity into the design is as important, if not more so, than embedding our design studio’s signature into the space, and so these two principles come into play.
For my own furniture collection, I tend to express my Scandinavian and African heritage – crafting a contemporary blend of Scandinavian modern and bold African form, colour and concepts.
Which other Darlings creations do you covet and why?
I am looking forward to see what artist and paper architect Elonah O’Neil comes up with. I think it is great that a purely aesthetic paper installation will be created for this exhibition – I’m hoping it will take it beyond being just another trade show and give SA Darlings some conceptual depth.
Design Joburg runs from 12 to 14 May 2017. Tickets are priced between R80 and R110 and are available here. For more information about the Endless Forms Most Beautiful collection, visit haldanemartin.co.za.