Southern Guild commissions, produces and exhibits contemporary collectible design by the most compelling talents in South Africa. The gallery has pioneered the collectible design category on the continent, propelling its artists and designers to make original work that is distinctly African and globally relevant. Founded in 2008 by Trevyn and Julian McGowan, Southern Guild’s rigorous curatorial programme has shaped the world’s perceptions of African design and forged a unique vernacular in the international arena.
Located in Cape Town’s newly revitalised Silo District, adjacent to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the gallery showcases limited-edition and one-off pieces that have garnered multiple awards and caught the attention of the world’s leading collectors, auction houses, museums and institutions. The first African gallery to present at Design Miami (2011) and at Christie’s London’s annual design auction (2015), Southern Guild shows regularly at Design Miami/ in the US and Basel, has participated in PAD London, The Salon Art & Design and Collective in New York, and at Design Days Dubai. It has also partnered with renowned New York City-based galleries R & Company, Friedman Benda and Todd Merrill, further exposing its artist-designers to the most important international audiences.
Southern Guild pieces have been included in Making Africa at the Vitra Design Museum and Beauty–Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and have been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The gallery works closely with a diverse roster of multi-disciplinary designers, fulfilling the role of mentorship and incubation, facilitating production where necessary, and acting as a conduit between South African artisans and international galleries seeking local production capabilities. Alongside its programme of local and international exhibitions, Southern Guild works closely with clients and collectors, overseeing ambitious projects involving architectural intervention, interior design and the commissioning of custom works.
Globally recognized as the leading African collectible design authority the gallery has set benchmarks of quality that have influenced the African design industry as a whole. A common thread uniting its roster of designers across mediums and methods is an abiding commitment to showcasing African materials, motifs, traditions and techniques. Collectively, these artists have elevated the role of craft, honouring the rich indigenous traditions of making by hand whilst seeking out bold new interpretations.