SA furniture design moves beyond local shores

What started off as a mention here and a photograph there, has now become a definite trend. It’s official, South African furniture design is going places internationally. Individual local furniture designers together with national, provincial and private initiatives have taken South African furniture design up a notch so that the world at large is now taking notice. Read more

The success story of South African furniture design will always include names such as Haldane Martin, Egg Design, Raw Studios, Pierre Cronje and Dokter and Misses.  

Cape Town-based Haldane Martin creates iconic furniture through seamless integration of digital design, indigenous craft, sustainability and cultural identity. This way he blends innovation with beauty and captures the zeitgeist of the day in a timeless fashion.

Durban-based Egg Design, founded in 1996 by Greg and Roché Dry. The who follow an intuitive and emotional approach to their furniture design. Inspired by the nature and pattern around them, they create unique furniture that is both functional & beautiful, but also carries an element of surprise.

Pretoria’s Raw Studios (since 2005) is a product design and supply company that specialises in the design, prototyping, testing and production of high quality furniture systems in sustainably sourced and environmentally responsible engineered materials.  

Pierre Cronje works primarily in South African hardwood and has showrooms in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Quirky DOKTER AND MISSES is a South African design brand known for its strong modernist lines, graphic patterns and clever combination of function and humour. Established in 2007 by husband and wife team Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin, their standard product range includes tables, lighting, storage solutions and mirrors.

Southern Guild stands out for its promotion of local furniture designers. According to its website (, Southern Guild provides a platform showcasing an annual collection of the very best of South African design from the most respected designers and artists in the country. Exhibiting locally and at leading design fairs around the world, the yearly collection strives to progress, stimulate and promote the industry. In 2008, Source, a company exporting South African design to the international market, saw the need for a platform to incite new work at the very top end, and to showcase it collectively on the national and international design stage. Source assists in presenting international exhibitions of South African design in collaboration with highly regarded names including Sir Terence Conran, Li Edelkoort and Keith Johnson.

Government has joined in the success story of South African furniture design with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) inviting designers and design students to participate in the 2015 Furniture Design Competition themed “Future Public Spaces”.  While the aim of the competition is to nurture design capabilities in the country, to raise the image of the South African furniture manufacturing industry and to grow its competitiveness, the competition is seeking real seating solutions for crowded waiting areas.

With a story to tell and a clear understanding of what South African furniture can represent locally and abroad, SA designers are set to make inroads into international furniture markets.