Justin van Breda, one of South Africa’s proudest design exports, has long been a supporter of Cape Town’s The Cape Town Society for the Blind, a not-for-profit organisation for the blind community, which provides opportunities to make a living and gain independence and thus dignity, from weaving. “I have a passion for working with craft and because our world can be "a lot" it’s very levelling to be in a workshop with a visually impaired person and see them create pieces by touch. I also felt that we could bring an international design aspect to their work, which might appeal to a broader market,” he explains.
Launched from his London home on the eve of the city’s Design Leadership Network a week ago, his Cape Weaver Collection is a beautiful ode to the woven form. With a host of hand-crafted furniture pieces and accessories for the home all made by the blind, this is a project we are happy to get behind.
Not only does it give us all the warm feels that a humanitarian project would, but it’s also very easy on the eye and taps into design’s current love for all things natural and woven. Then there’s also the fact that cane and rattan have that inextricable link to summer. Having chatted to a star cast of the globe’s best loved designers to conceive of their very own items, the collection is a mix between honest hand crafting and highbrow design taking on various styles.
The list of designers is impressive and includes Nina Campbell, Veere Grenney, Nicky Haslam (whom Justin began his career working for), Cynthia Ferguson, Serena Crawford, Mally Skok, Bill Peace, Joe Lucas, Amanda Lindroth, Michael Cox and Lauren Deloach, with a couple of pieces designed by Justin himself. “I wanted a mix of well-known and emerging designers and I’m honoured that everyone I spoke to said yes,” he says. There are stools, cupboards, mirrors and even a cheeky little drinks cart designed by Justin that goes by the name Dolly’s Trolley.
A few of our faves include Nina Campbell’s Dog bed for its classic take on this much overlooked essential, Justin’s Bow Chair for its retro circular form and laid-back demeanour and the Michael Cox Table, whose frivolous frayed top appeals to our sense of fun.