Bulldog Gin, the contemporary London Dry Gin known for its bold identity, has partnered with four local artists, designers and creatives to produce unique collaborative pieces that celebrate each creator’s individual craft and accomplished trade.
Laurie Wiid Van Heerden of Wiid Design, Marie Aoun of Saint D’Ici, Bonolo Chepape of Lulasclan and Bonga Jwambi have each designed and created pieces that speak to the heart of their craft while taking inspiration from and elevating the qualities and characteristics that set Bulldog apart as a refined and modern gin.
The collaboration is part of Bulldog’s efforts to support and celebrate local design, as the brand resonates with those who seek to carve out their own paths, write their own stories and pioneer the unconventional. Twelve items have been created from the collaboration, with furniture from Bonga Jwambi, woven artwork by Bonolo Chepape, a gin-inspired botanical scent by Marie Aoun and a glassware set from Laurie Wiid van Heerden.
Bulldog Gin drinkers stand a chance to win one of the 12 exclusive collaborative pieces when purchasing the limited-edition Bulldog Gin pack now in stores until the end of December 2020.
Not for sale to persons under the age of 18.
Saint D’Ici — Marie Aoun
Saint D’Ici is a Joburg botanical perfumery that creates truly one-of-a-kind scents from 100% natural ingredients in the form of absolutes, tinctures and essential oils. Founder Marie Aoun says “something special happens when we experience ourselves as part of nature,” and for her collaborative Bulldog scent, she worked towards replicating the smell of the gin with the complexity of some of the gin’s natural botanicals. With ingredients such as coriander, bergamot, cinnamon, vanilla and vetiver, among other things, Aoun’s creation with Bulldog is a unisex scent that is expansive, dry and full of interest and depth.
“I think Saint D’Ici is a little bit off centre. I really just put out product that I love, and that is the foremost standard to which I work,” says Aoun of her creative process and the key characteristics of her work.
“I don’t know if I have a style. I don’t know if I’m trying to have a style. I just want to put really beautiful perfumes out there.”
Wiid Design — Laurie Wiid van Heerden
Laurie Wiid van Heerden is well known for his innovative use of cork in high-end product design and architecture. In addition to his speciality work with cork, he has an appreciation and passion for working alongside other artists, and his studio’s product offering includes a range of design disciplines across a variety of materials. His work with Ngwenya Glass in particular has resulted in beautifully considered, handblown glassware, and so for his collaborative Bulldog pieces, he worked with them to create a gin glassware set made from recycled Bulldog Gin bottles.
“We came up with the concept of a short gin glass with a unique twist — where we could incorporate recycled glass with cork,” says Wiid van Heerden. Each glass in the set has been designed to meet and intersect with a cork base to form one unit. “I’ve always had a passion for interaction design. It gives the product more of a purpose when you feel it and need to connect with it when putting it down with the base,” he says.
“For this collaboration, I was inspired by the sustainability of the materials we’d be using along with the idea of curved shapes and round forms.” He wanted his collaborative pieces to be valuable items that its users would want to keep and treasure for years to come.
“I love to work with honest, sustainable materials — something that can last a lifetime, high quality and handmade.”
Wiid van Heerden’s design for the glassware set is finished off by a cork tray with a dark porcelain inlay.
Lulasclan — Bonolo Chepape
Lulasclan is a textile studio specialising in bespoke scatter cushions, rugs, woven art and unique textile prints. Founder Bonolo Chepape has a background in graphic design, with a passion for patterns, illustration and textile design that represents and celebrates culture, diversity and heritage in a contemporary way. “Every piece that I work on has a story. I think a story is so important,” says Chepape. “You need to be able to tell the viewer what inspired you, what the piece is about, and I find that process very beautiful.”
For her collaborative pieces, Chepape created three one-of-a-kind woven artworks that subtly represent the boldness of Bulldog as a brand. From the “B” in the brand’s logo to the shape of the bottle and the brand’s signature black colourway, various brand traits were considered in Chepape’s designs to produce the fluid yet geometric shapes in the final artworks.
“I see myself as a woven person — there’s different parts that come together to form my identity. And that’s what I wanted to explore in terms of the brand and depict in the three pieces I’ve created.”
For one piece in particular, Chepape chose to focus on the concept of progress. “It shows progression, it shows movement, it shows fluidity. We’re here in the present but we’re going somewhere.”
“With the lines depicting the idea of change, of prosperity, of evolving into something else, something new — I feel like it speaks to the brand in that sense because Bulldog Gin is for the trailblazers, for the people that seek to be different. It’s bold and unapologetic.”
Bonga Jwambi is a furniture designer with a background in visual art, who focuses on the use of sustainable or upcycled materials and natural wood. He was named a 2015 Design Indaba Emerging Creative and has since honed in on developing a clean and minimalist aesthetic for both indoor and outdoor furniture pieces.
“I prefer to explore when I’m creating. There’s no limit to exploring,” says Jwambi of his design process. He gets excited by the prospect of coming up with design solutions to modern day challenges such as producing furniture for smaller living spaces, and thrives on working with clients to produce custom, sustainable pieces that address their needs.
“I want my products to draw someone in from a distance. That’s my process.”
For his collaborative designs with Bulldog Gin, Jwambi's goal was to create furniture pieces that celebrated the social side of gin-drinking — items that would encourage intimate moments of interaction and sharing. The final custom designs include a bar stool, bench and low resting chair, which can all be incorporated into the living spaces of their new homes and used to relax and enjoy a glass of Bulldog Gin.
“I used a natural wood called Kiaat because of the dimension of colour. In one piece of wood you can get about five shades of colour,” Jwambi says of his collaboration designs. “I wanted to create items that anyone would like; that anyone would love to have in their space.”
* This article was paid for by Bulldog Gin.