Wiid Design is a Cape Town based design studio, established by Laurie Wiid van Heerden. It creates products and objects that can be seen as the interface between art and design; where materials are transformed into life enriching and durable products. Laurie’s work comes from a conceptual and artistic environment, an angle on various
topics of contemporary culture, with a focus on traditional handcrafting in combination with
avant-garde techniques. He has exhibited at international design fairs such as 100% Design in London, Design Days in Dubai and Design Miami and has won several awards including “Best Lighting Design” award at 100% Design in 2015 and the “Brave” Award for the ongoing work and support for the BRAVE / Rock Girl charity organization in 2017.
“All my products incorporate handmade elements, pieces that are part of the production which I oversee personally, this is very important to me and I believe it brings out the value of my products, similar to investing in a piece of art.”
Check out some of Laurie’s design influences and inspirations this month’s Top3Tuesday.
3Semi-metal Chair Model 305 – Jean Prouve
I have always been a big admirer of Jean Prouvé’s work. My love for design and art lead me to become a collector of various vintage and modern furniture pieces. I find this chair to be right up my list and to hopefully own one day. At a young age Prouvé undertook an apprenticeship with an iron-smith, where he learned various techniques relating to steel-work and the importance of simplification within forms. His studio was founded in 1923, where he focused on creating “restrained metal objects that rejected excess decoration.” His way of thinking and design philosophy of designing products that are simple, unique, collectible and beautiful, is definitely something I aspire to. It is almost as if the beauty and simplicity of this chair was an by-product of his practical and rational way of thinking.
2Bund Finance Centre – Heatherwick + Foster
Due to my studio being based close to the Cape Town CBD, Heatherwick’s work became familiar to me mainly through the Zeitz MOCAA museum, which was recently completed at the Cape Town V&A Waterfront. When I read about this project located in central Shanghai, it immediately captured my attention. Not only is it a beautiful building, but also an architectural masterpiece with a “veil” that physically moves similar to something that is alive. This multifunctional arts and culture complex is part of the Bund Finance Centre and was a joint project between Heatherwick Studio and Foster+Partners. I find the design awe inspiring and captivating, especially with the copper/bronze finish and the machine-like façade. The shape and detail of the building with the curves and lines immediately drew me in, as curves with detailed soft flowing edges are important and used often within the designs of my studio’s work. This building is most definitely on my list to experience, on one of my next trips.
I met Wim Botha when I was about 21 years old. At the time I was working for Bronze Age art foundry under the guidance of Otto du Plessis and Charles Haupt. After about 3 years with Bronze Age I decided to move on and work with a carpenter in Kommetjie. The main project at the time was a large-scale timber and steel installation, commissioned by renowned local artist Wim Botha. During this project, Wim and myself became friends and he approached me to become his apprentice and assistant in his studio. Wim is first on my list and even though I don’t see him that often anymore, I am still inspired by what I have learned by working by his side. I find his techniques and wide range of materials fascinating. After a few years with Wim, I started developing my own product ranges and eventually my brand began to grow and my studio’s work started taking up most of my time. I had learnt a great deal of myself, being a creative and young aspiring designer during my time with him. I have also learnt valuable techniques, interesting finishes and experimented with all kinds of materials. I still find myself daydreaming and remembering the processes and thought patterns while working in his studio – what a wonderful time it was!