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20 February 2012
Gregor Jenkin, Design Heavyweight
Elana Castle discovers the work of South African designer Gregor Jenkin.
Gregor Jenkin is one of South Africa's most prominent furniture designers. His thought-provoking pieces are both metaphorical and technically advanced.
"My furniture is often inspired by the industrial and urban landscapes that surround me. However, I am primarily interested in making things," he explains.
Working from a strong engineering base, Jenkin manufactures all his pieces in his Cape Town-based workshop. "I often push the boundaries of materials, but I ensure that all the design components can be easily assembled into commercially viable pieces."
In 2005, Jenkin designed his most iconic product to date - The Cape Table - a cut steel design with a striking, colonially-inspired edge profile. The piece was bought by the Conran Shop and it soon became one of their best-sellers, catapulting his career onto the international stage.
Since then, Jenkin has been fulfilling prestigious local and international commissions, in addition to extending his portfolio. His studio was given a weighty boost at the end of last year when he was invited to participate in Design Miami, an international and highly curated marketplace for collectible design.
Under the auspices of distinguished South African gallery Southern Guild, Jenkin presented Migrant Migrate, fourteen pieces reflective of South Africa's highly disenfranchised migrant labour population.
Migrant Migrate - individual piece designed to stand like a herd of wildebeest (24 in total)
"It was great to be exposed to such a wide and well-informed audience," he says. In addition, Jenkin's pieces were well received, with interest from exclusive gallerists and international buyers.
Jenkin is now hard at work on his latest collection - a utilitarian range influenced by the furniture and architecture on Robben Island. Given what we know about his work, the pieces will no doubt extend and enhance the value of the Gregor Jenkin brand.