We got up close and personal with the Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design. His Poodle stool has sparked our creative senses and we absolutely adore the concept. Here is what he had to say about it. Q: Where did you get started? A: I started studying Industrial Design in 2006, but soon realized I needed an even more “hands-on” education. I then worked at the Bronze Age Art Foundry until the end of 2009, where I worked alongside creative’s such as Otto du Plessis, Trevyn Mcgowan, Cecil and Boyd, Graham Viney, Wim Botha and William Kentridge. Thereafter I was an assistant to Wim Botha, where I worked with him on his many commissions and projects, mainly focusing on the construction of his intricate wooden sculptures and busts. He is truly an inspiration and I have learnt a lot from him, specifically with regard to the thought behind design and the importance of choosing the right material for the right product. Product Design and Art have always been my main interests, as I gain experience in both fields I’m creating works that explore the tension and similarities between these fields in the guise of lifestyle objects. Q: What’s your style? A: I try not to have a particular style, but if you look at my work you will find that everything is simple, durable, honest, natural and of good quality.I would say my style represents myself when I look at beautiful objects in the world, I seem to get drawn to nature, objects and pieces that are true to what they are and where each object/thing has a purpose. Q: Any up and coming projects? A: Having recently done three solo “cork collection” exhibitions and also where Wiid also exhibited at Design Days Dubai and also Miami/Basel Design fair, just shows the amount of work that has gone into 2013. There are a lot of exciting projects I am currently working on in 2013 and also for 2014, one of these is collaboration with an excellent Architect, Aram Lello form dhk, where our proposal for World Design Capital has been recognised in the official programme of 2014. (Which I am very grateful for) I am also producing a few new products and a wonderful bench with the Artist Lionel Smit. Wiid Design is will be exhibiting at the Museum of African Design on the 24th of October, the exhibition forms part of the annual Southern Guild collection, then there is also the “Art for me” show at THE LOOKOUT, V&A Waterfront.Q: What’s the best thing about being a furniture designer? A: I love the fact that I have the freedom of presenting my personality and ideas into a ‘physical’ object; it is really an amazing feeling to design something that is true to oneself and presenting it in a physical form. Being able to smell, touch and choose the material, I love the smell of freshly milled timer, cut leather and the raw craftsmanship of slip casting a ceramic piece. It’s not easy to source the right suppliers or manufactures or to choose the right material and shape, I make a lot of mistakes, but one will always learn something from designing a product. Q: Who inspires you? A: I love natural materials and I feel the need to make use of it. There are also a lot of design styles that inspire me, for me it is all about the simplicity and at the same time the complexity. Design is a strange thing, it is sometimes more difficult to design something to make it appear simple..Or to design a object where you would like to portray a message. I prefer design styles that are honest, original and have some kind of meaning to it. This can be determined by looking at the materials, the shape, the function or maybe no function at all, but being honest to the concept and embracing the material that suites it best. Styles I do admire…. I respect 20th Century Modernism, Functionalism and the Bauhaus era – even though these two were more mass produced and machine driven styles or era’s…. and then off course Danish Design. Q: I am the most happiest when? A: When I am alone in my workshop manufacturing or prototyping, I also love to get away, especially when it involves taking a ” inspirational design break” to retreat to our family holiday house in Onrus, where I can just think, design and enjoy nature. Q: Best furniture piece purchased? A: A beautiful, old Victorian display cabinet with 2 drawers. (this cabinet/unit displays all my natural curiosities and found objects) Q: What is your involvement with the WCFI? A: I met them through my agent – Andre James form [o]bject House, Wiid Design also exhibited through the WCFI in 2 recent exhibitions. Thanks for your time. We have learnt a lot and wish you all the best in your future endevours, we look forward to more brilliant designs from you.
Contact: Laurie Wiid van Heerden www.wiiddesign.co.za + 27 72 4945 914