One of the most anticipated lifestyle events in Joburg, each year the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair transforms the rooftop parking of Hyde Park Corner into a food and design-filled wonderland.

Image: Mike Turner Photography

And this year, the weekend of 12 to 14 October, will be no different, save for a few key changes, says fair curator Cassandra Twala. “This year’s theme, A Return to Making, helped inform the decision. While in previous years we’ve worked with one featured designer to craft the visual language of the fair, in 2018 we are working with artisans who will serve as featured designers of their respective pavilions. We look forward to seeing their interpretation of the theme come to life in each pavilion, supported by a changed layout, which we anticipate to truly elevate the visitor experience at the fair this year.”

Cassandra Twala

There will be five separate pavilions focusing on textiles, homeware, jewellery, lifestyle and wine.
Cape Town-based artist Michael Chandler has been chosen to take charge of homeware.

Image: Mike Turner Photography

What would you say forms the heart of your brand?

Chandler House is about celebrating items that are hand-made, that have a story imbued in them, regardless of whether that’s a painting, a ceramic plate or an antique chair. Humans have always told stories, and objects can tell their own stories through the way they look and the way they are made. I think it’s very interesting to think about an object living way beyond its maker, yet continuing to have a voice.

Has social media had any influence on how or what you create?

I really enjoy Instagram when I get tagged in people’s posts of Christmas lunch or their birthdays with my plates laden with delicious food. It reminds me that my work brings joy to people and that this is such an important thing to remember when setting out on designing a new work; it should always bring joy to the user.

What can visitors expect to find in the Homeware Pavilion this year?

For the fair, I will be debuting one of the most exciting illustrations that I’ve ever done – the city of Johannesburg! As a Capetonian, I hope I can do justice to the City of Gold with my highly detailed and whimsical drawing of Johannesburg, complete with all its iconic buildings, the sprawling suburbs and all the trees in between. The illustration will be available as a print, as well as a selection of homeware featuring the intricate drawing.

Michael Chandler

As for new exhibitors, furniture craftsmen Houtlander will be making their SHmC Fair debut:

What first drew you to the world of furniture manufacturing?

It’s the passion of working with your hands and working with a material like wood that makes it very rewarding. We appreciate the process of transformation from raw planks to something functional. We weren’t too focused on gaps in the market but rather on making the best furniture that we can possibly make and then offering that to the market.

What would you say forms the heart of your brand?

It’s important to us that the brand speaks of longevity and heritage. We want our furniture to last a very long time, to be passed down to the next generation. With that comes the aspect of quality and sustainability. Our slogan is “Crafted, Considered, Timeless”. Those words are very important to us.

What can visitors expect to find at your stand?

There might be a few first-time products on show. It’s always great to test the market at these events because we rarely get to see people’s expressions when they try our pieces for the first time and then talk with them about the product after. Our motivation is always to show our pieces in the best possible way and leave the public to imagine how nice it will look in their homes.