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Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object is more than just a Pretty Bench

Mar 11, 2019 | Design, Featured

Houtlander’s sensuous Interdependence II shows its functional side

Houtlander’s Interdependence II bench was announced as the public’s choice for Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the annual Design Indaba Conference that’s just culminated in Cape Town. The award is proudly presented by Mercedes-Benz South Africa. The striking piece (one of 10 nominees) secured 20 percent of the total votes and was nominated by Nandi Dlepu, the Managing Director of Johannesburg-based creative agency Mamakashaka.

The winning design combines strong aesthetic and conceptual components – the playful take on the love seat’s flowing lines and unexpected twist are accentuated by a punchy blue hue. The unusual bench evolved from the design duo’s initial Interdependence bench, which was first launched at the exhibition ‘Extra Ordinary’ by Southern Guild. Interdependence II is the culmination of a process of development and refinement. Houtlander’s founders Phillip Hollander and Stephen Wilson are concerned about the human principles of inclusivity, environment and legacy. Their aim is to create pieces that endure.

The bench was on show at the Design Indaba from 27 February to 1 March 2019, exhibited on the Artscape Piazza as part of a showcase of all the nominated objects with the display open to the public.

‘We want the public to decide what they think constitutes a “beautiful object” – and it’s not just about what something looks like, it’s also about smart functionality, or a design’s ability to enhance the quality of life for its user or effect change. In the selection process itself we want to foster a sense of appreciation, accessibility and engagement,’ explains Design Indaba Festival Manager Bev Cupido.

*Photographs by Hayden Phipps

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