Each week leading up to Design Indaba, Home Weekly is revealing nominations for the 2014 Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA). Twelve nominators, drawn from the ranks of editors, cultural commentators and journalists, have each selected an object they believe is South Africa’s most beautiful.
At the end of the process, we’ll revisit the nominees, and you’ll get a chance to vote for the item you think is the loveliest. The 12 nominations will be on display at Design Indaba Expo from February 28 to March 2. We are showcasing a few MBOISA nominations each week and have already featured five nominations in the last two issues.
Kim Seeliger, Design Indaba Expo manager, says this week’s nominations “prove just how diverse the perception of beauty can be. The film Four Corners reflects on the volatility and complexity of life on the Cape Flats, juxtaposed with messages of hope. Construct, on the other hand, with its intricate micro-mosaic inlays of Venetian glass, ceramics and natural stone, is a wearable art installation – an object of beauty that speaks to the notion of aesthetics.”
Who: Alistair King, co-founder of the King James Group of advertising and communications agencies.
What: Four Corners, produced by Giant Films and directed by Ian Gabriel.
Why: “I took a bit of license with my definition of design,” says King of his film nomination. But the fact that it is beautifully crafted and that King believes the idea at the centre of the film alone is beautiful – Cape Flats gangsterism interpreted as a game of chess – combined with Design Indaba’s broad and boundary-pushing notion of design, convinced him of its suitability. He believes the way Four Corners reveals Cape Town to be a complex, messy city is at the heart of its beauty. “To talk in terms of something that is beautiful only is counterintuitive to me,” says King. “Other magic” arises from this departure from conventional notions of beauty, he adds.
Who: Sarah Buitendach, editor of Sunday Times Home Weekly and Fashion Weekly.
What: Construct (2013) by Spier Architectural Arts.
Why: Despite their size, it’s impossible not to be taken with these little works of art. “I first saw them at the 2013 FNB Art Fair and was mesmerised by their diminutive beauty,” says Buitendach of these painstaking crafted jewellery pieces. Spier Architectural Arts specialises in collaborative work, bringing artists, designers and architects together and facilitating conceptualisation, production and installation of site-specific artworks. Although many of these pieces are large-scale, somehow these bracelet-sized pieces have just as much impact. Each creation features a miniature canvas of micro mosaics created using pieces as small as 1mm to 2mm. “Although abstract in design, there’s something about them that makes me think of painterly South African landscapes and the large-scale wall murals so popular during the 1970s.” These small but perfectly formed pieces are proof that the lines between fashion, art, architecture and jewellery blur all the time.