When you’re working with precious timbers, there is no room for error. But in the case of James Mudge, furniture designer and manufacturer, this level of perfection extends beyond the Hope Street factory floor.
Mudge’s expansive new gallery next door — an old community hall of sorts — has been given a new lease on life without losing the charm of this grand old utilitarian space. Finished in crisp white, the gallery is fittingly detailed with sensible dado and picture rails and the perfect amount of light filters through the impeccably clean period fenestration to highlight the finely crafted works inside.
His sister Rosie Mudge is in charge and also curates the shows. Creative talent runs in the family — his older sister ceramicist Lucinda Mudge recently sold out at Everard Read in London — and the opening group show includes two huge glittering works by Rosie (represented by Smith Studio). There are also arresting digital architectural renderings by artist Alexis Christodoulou and intriguing 3D-printed house plant installations by Matty Roodt.
Mudge puts a contemporary spin (and sometimes a wry sense of humor) on his ancient craft using only solid woods and traditional cabinet-making techniques for outdoor and indoor furniture. Recognisable pieces include his bow-fronted ‘Queen Anne’ chest of draws, ‘Pick Up Sticks’ shelving, and the brass-topped Harris dining table with its beautiful, flush rounded corners.
His latest addition is ‘Chair No.2’, a Japanese-inspired hoop-back elbow chair. Light-weight yet sturdy, it is incredibly comfortable with all the right curves and notches in just the right places, revealing James’s observance of and obsession with every detail.
39 Hope Street, Gardens, Cape Town