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Guild Founders

GUILD was founded by Trevyn and Julian McGowan, widely recognized for their support and advancement of African design.

Their efforts to raise the global profile of Africa’s burgeoning design scene – through their Southern Guild and Design Network Africa platforms – earned them a place on Art + Auction Magazine’s ‘Power 100’ list for 2013.

For over a decade, Trevyn and Julian McGowan have had a dedicated mission to take Southern African design to the world.

The founding of GUILD, Africa’s only international design fair, represents their desire to bring the world to Africa. GUILD is a continuation of their work to date, exploring the theme of ‘making’ at an elevated, collectible level.

‘GUILD 2015 is the realization of a vision that originated with the inaugural fair last year: To introduce our global design heroes to the extraordinary talent, technical skill and creative intelligence of our South African designers, makers and artists and to create a legacy of exchange and collaboration. Every GUILD exhibitor has a deep and relevant connection to South Africa and the stories are rich with potential from the alliances formed here to create important new work – The Haas brothers with Monkeybiz, The Massoud siblings with Bronze Age, Frederik Molenschot with Gone Rural, Porky Hefer with Mabeo Furniture. Sipho Mabona and Kendell Geers, resident in Europe, but with South African routes returning to show work here for the first time. Phase three of Design Network Africa launching at GUILD, the honour of hosting a solo presentation of Conrad Botes and the significance of presenting design pieces by Thomas Heatherwicke and David Adjaye – legendary architects with significant projects in Africa.’

At the very top end of the market, Trevyn and Julian launched SOUTHERN GUILD in 2008, a platform for South African collectible design, with an invited list of the best South African designers and artists each year. Almost 400 new products have been launched via SOUTHERN GUILD’s blockbuster exhibitions, which continue at their recently opened Woodstock gallery.

In 2011 SOUTHERN GUILD became the first African gallery to present at Design Miami and has since shown at Design Days Dubai, Design Miami/Basel and the Collective Design Fair in New York.

Trevyn and Julian have been appointed to run Design Network Africa by the Danish body CKU, and are co-founders of the Business of Design seminar programme aimed at helping design businesses grow. They are founders of the not for profit Design Foundation and the curators of the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront, an innovative retail space for local craft and design.

‘Craft is very old in Africa, but design is very young. Part of the global appeal of contemporary South African design is that it’s unfettered, imaginative and energetic,’ says Trevyn. ‘In the established world of collectible design, Southern Africa has something very new to say.’