Up-and-coming Furniture Brand: Turnt

INTERVIEWED BY Ami Kapilevich IMAGES Hennie Lombard


Funky new furniture brand Turnt is making design aficionados sit up and take notice. Turnt Furniture is the creation of two Industrial Design students at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Duncan Stevens and Andre Smith. We wanted to know more…

How did the concept come about?

Duncan: Turnt evolved from legs I designed for a flat-pack furniture project. I wanted to incorporate turned table legs inspired by traditional mortars I’d come across. I intended to use birch plywood, but wanted to incorporate a dissimilar material that wasn’t metal or glass. I decided to combine birch, clear acrylic and Poly Stone [a polyester compound]. My lecturers didn’t think it was possible to combine these materials and turn them on a lathe, but I want to push the limits of materials and see what they are capable of. Andre had turned pieces before and offered to lend a hand. After many, many failures, we managed to work out how to bond the wood to acrylic and Poly Stone. The legs of the Tonga table have these incredible carved forms reminiscent of Lozi mortars, but with an optic quality in the sections of clear acrylic that makes them seem to float on cones of water. This is what I was after: the illusion of floating legs that make the viewer think, “How did they do that?”

Tell us a bit about your creative process

Andre: Duncan has some crazy ideas, but they push us to develop innovative techniques and processes. Making beautiful things excites both of us. The entire process is about getting stuck in with your hands. Even simple things such as how you have to engineer the sections to make the end product work are about trial and error. Sometimes a flash of inspiration when working through quick sketches gives you insights into a new way of achieving your desired result.

Keep up to date with Turnt Furniture on Instagram.