South African design has come a long way very fast and right now it is celebrated around the world. There are many players involved in the renaissance of South African design and no more so than the extraordinary husband wife team that is Julian and Trevyn McGowan.
The couple have a very interesting background. Julian was a theatre and opera designer in London and Trevyn had an interior and architectural practise doing renovations and redevelopments for the likes of Clive Owen, Sir Ian McKellan, Gerald Butler and Rachel Wiesz. When the couple returned to South Africa they established a company called SOURCE. Part of their homecoming was to rediscover what South African design was all about. They had utilised it in their work abroad and imported it for their clients, and “what began as an interest grew into an absolute passion for local design.”
The creation of Source has been very beneficial in bridging the gap between local designers and the foreign market in what was then a new emerging market. Thanks to their established relationship with the international marketplace and an understanding of what it required, Trevyn and Julian were able to present products in a way that that would be well received abroad.
Source now provides South African products to the international marketplace – from the Conran shop to Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Jamie Oliver, Soho House Group, Bergdorf Goodman etc etc. As an extension they then went on to create SOUTHERN GUILD which serves as a platform for leading local designers, artists and craftsmen to exhibit new work at the very top end of the market – limited edition, one off collectable designs. Southern Guild encourages collaboration, discourse and mentorship and uses international exhibitions as a platform to stimulate and provoke the industry. They believe that South African design is attractive to the foreign market because it largely does not follow international trends and is freer and infused with very many different infiuences.
Not intent to leave it at that, the couple, who astonishingly have also made the time to have a gaggle of magnificent looking children, Trevyn and Julian then went on to create The Guild which has culminated in the multi faceted venue in the remarkably exciting Silos District. The Guild, which houses an in house studio, concept store, Furniture range as well as gallery space had a glittering opening party with the who’s who of design in attendance sipping vodkas from golden pineapples earlier this winter 2017.
GUILD is set to become a concept-driven experience, with bespoke items available for purchase, alongside contemporary and limited-edition furniture, and great exhibitions, featuring international galleries.
Under The Guild Group’s creative director, Tammy Tinker, GUILD Concept will present a selection of fresh and intriguing must-have items (including jewellry, accessories, gifts, and more), with seasonal ranges from leading Cape Town manufacturers, who specialise in everything from fine art to fashion and furniture design.
Nearby, GUILD Studio will provide production furniture by top South African designers, such as Gregor Jenkin, Meyer von Wielligh and Dokter and Misses, with Julian McGowan’s own in-house range leading the pack.
Another very exciting project that the team have taken on is The BUSINESS OF DESIGN which hosts an annual 2 day seminar in Cape Town and Johannesburg with some of the design leaders from across South Africa. It feels a lot like TED TAlks for artists. Last year the distinguished line up included Brian Steinhobel of Steinhobel design, Stefan Antoni of SAOTA, OKHA, ARRCC, Heather Moore of Skinny La Minx, Emilie Gambade – Elle, Sorbet’s Ian Fuhr, destinguished chef Luke Dale Roberts of Pot luck club and Test Kitchen, Conn Bertish of Cancer Dojo amongst many many more. I know I’ll be there for sure and will watch with great excitement as the Silo District really starts to take off in the coming months as the design epicentre of the Cape.
Style Icons – Paul Duncan
Insideguide – Tamlyn Ryan