Craft revival reshaping design landscape

NATURAL BEAUTY : The revival of craft, design and art has arrived with exciting aesthetics and no boundaries, and is becoming a mega trend Photo. Veli Nhlapo © Sowetan
NATURAL BEAUTY : The revival of craft, design and art has arrived with exciting aesthetics and no boundaries, and is becoming a mega trend Photo. Veli Nhlapo © Sowetan

We are currently experiencing one of the greatest craft revivals ever seen - locally and internationally. It is one of the largest design trends by far, and stretches across such a vast spectrum of products that it is hard not to take notice.

We don't have to venture too far to be bombarded with an array of craft beer, artisanal coffee or chocolate. In the same way, we are seeing a fusion of craft, design and art culminating in an exciting design aesthetic that has no boundaries.

The reasons for this artisanal direction are vast, with the major contributor being a backlash to the mass production of products across the world over recent years.

The craft influence we are currently seeing is more refined than its predecessors, and in many cases may just be an element in the overall design, such as the hand-stitched upholstery on a chair, or a rough timber base or frame on an otherwise "high-tech" lamp.

We see highly revered, internationally designers looking at craft and past traditions for their inspiration. This progression of style proves that this is a mega-trend, which will continue to evolve.

At the other end of the table, we see traditional craftsmen being influenced by technology and international design styling, creating a more refined and contemporary product.

Materials are also playing an important role in this craft revolution. Almost overnight, chrome has become a practically dated product as we see the rise of copper and even matt brass. The patina that comes with age and handling of both of these materials adds to their aesthetic appeal.

In a similar fashion, recent years have seen the popularity of a host of tactile materials, including rusted metal, reclaimed timber and off-shutter concrete.

The biggest appeal of a crafted or artisanal product, though, is the fact that there was obvious human intervention. It is this process that makes the product unique, telling a story through its imperfections or simple originality.

The one misconception many consumers still have, however, is that these products should be a lot "cheaper" than their branded counterparts.

In reality, a bespoke product takes at least triple the time to produce, and thus naturally finds its way onto the shelf with a higher price tag.

Luckily for us in South Africa, we really don't have to look too far for original and authentic crafts or handiwork.

Shwe shwe prints and intricate bead and wire-work have been sought after worldwide for many years.

These traditions are now evolving as we begin to see them making their mark in contemporary design. - Courtesy of SA Home Owner

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