We chat to Candice Lawrence, the talented power-house of Modern Gesture, as she reveals two striking new lights inspired by African jewellery on exhibition till Sunday at NEXT18 in Cape Town’s East City precinct.
What is the inspiration behind your lights?
The structural elements of African jewellery fascinate me and you’ll see this in the series of lights I’ve designed over the last few years. I work with wood and I love the hands-on challenge of reinterpreting the aesthetic of flowing layers of African beaded necklaces into a fixed wooden structure, without losing that beautiful sense of fluidity. My earlier lights were inspired by African tribal jewellery from South Africa, and the earthy tones of my new lights are inspired by African cultures outside of South Africa that use shell and bone to create beads for jewellery.
You are both designer and maker. What do you love about this?
As a designer I enjoy researching and drawing inspiration from around me. At the same time there is this inner reflecting that’s happening, which helps me to connect to the design choices I make. I love prototyping, and use simple materials that are common or easy to find in and around my home. I find simple ways to join pieces, colour them a certain colour, and create textures by combing materials. I enjoy this playing around where I find simple solutions to a problem and my approach to materials becomes very innovative.
Your first lights were designed to meet the brief of the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search in 2015, and you had two lights that made it to the finals. Do you feel you’ve grown as a designer and entrepreneur since your journey as a finalist began?
Certainly! Business wise I’ve learnt a lot and am still learning. Spiritually I lean on my faith to expand my business, And creatively I’m being challenged all the time. With the high cost of materials I try and find ways to use them more sustainably, which is a growing concern around the world. I challenge myself to be more innovative in how I apply colour, texture or patterning.
I’ve had quite a number of orders for my lights from different places. Notably, I’ve had more than 400 lights ordered and installed in Nando’s stores in Australia, Malaysia, UK, Canada and USA. Other highlights were having the African Woven Lampshade featured in Vogue Italia in 2017 and on Top Billing in 2016.
You’re living the dream as a designer realising her desire to design and make. What is your dream for the future of this journey?
The designer I see myself becoming is going to take time.. but I’m excited and ready for the journey! My ultimate goal is to stand on the Design Indaba stage one day and talk about my life’s work and giving back to my community.
Find Candice this weekend at NEXT 18
2nd floor | Homecoming Centre | 15 Buitenkant Street | East City Precinct | Cape Town
The exhibition runs from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 February, 2018 from 10H00 – 18H00 daily
Entrance is free