Cape Town: Laurie Wiid Van Heerden

Click to enlarge
Van Heerden at work on a design.

Van Heerden at work on a design. Image: Brett Rubin

1 of 6
Laurie Wiid Van Heerden is a rising star in the world of homewares.

Laurie Wiid Van Heerden is a rising star in the world of homewares. Image: Brett Rubin

2 of 6
The 25-year-old made this wooden skull.

The 25-year-old made this wooden skull. Image: Brett Rubin

3 of 6
A hanging lamp designed by Van Heerden amidst his industrial design workshop.

A hanging lamp designed by Van Heerden amidst his industrial design workshop. Image: Brett Rubin

4 of 6
The tools of Van Heerden’s trade.

The tools of Van Heerden’s trade. Image: Brett Rubin

5 of 6
A Wiid Design table lamp made from cork.

A Wiid Design table lamp made from cork. Image: Brett Rubin

6 of 6

Continuing her series of profiles of Cape Town's artists and designers, Barbara Rubin visits industrial design prodigy Laurie Wiid Van Heerden.

Selecting natural materials and exploring their properties is the foundation of Laurie Wiid Van Heerden’s approach to designing authentic lifestyle objects.

“I love the smell of freshly-milled timber, cut leather and the raw craftsmanship of slip-casting a ceramic piece,” says Van Heerden.

Once renowned sculptor Wim Botha’s assistant at the Bronze Age Foundry (where they worked alongside South Africa’s foremost artist, William Kentridge), this rising design star incorporates materials like cork, felt, leather, wood, porcelain and energy saving LEDs into his homewares.

He also derives inspiration from old factories and antique shops. A self-confessed neat freak, Cape Town-born Van Heerden sees his workspace as a finishing and assembly shop where everything is organized and clean. He’s currently dreaming of a larger space so he can outsource less.

“Cape Town is the place to be right now for any designer or artisan,” says the 25-year-old. “There’s so much history here – and a healthy tension between gritty reality and blinding opulence.”

Van Heerden, who began designing as a boy, fixing old chairs and tables, before studying industrial design in 2006, recently had an exhibition of his cork products on the Glen Carlou Wine Estate in the scenic Paarl Valley. He is looking forward to Design Miami in June, where he’ll debut new designs.

“I design because I have to express myself,” he says. “It’s an amazing feeling being able to release my ideas into a physical form.”

Van Heerden Recommends:

  • A visit to the Baxter Theatre, a piece of new-modernist architecture.
  • Bellamy & Bellamy, a fabric shop in Muizenberg for high-quality, non-commercial fabric.
  • Joining the Moonlight Mass, a hugely popular, monthly full moon bike ride from Greenpoint Circle to Greenmarket Square.

For more on Cape Town, click here.

More places

Kuala Lumpur: Out & About

Kuala Lumpur: Out & About

Incredible street food and never-ending shopping are two of Kuala Lumpur’s most famous virtues, but dig a little deeper and you can also find an edgy side to Malaysia’s capital city.
Canberra: Out & About

Canberra: Out & About

We meet the cosmopolitan masterminds shedding the city’s bureaucratic grey suit in favour of a more urbane and vibrant get-up.
Dubai: out and about

Dubai: Out and About

From a sandy backwater to glitzy mega-city, the exponential growth of Dubai has produced a heady mix of old world and new.
Helsinki: out and about

Helsinki: out and about

From neoclassicism to Scandinavian modernism, this near-Arctic city continues to grow its rich history of design excellence.

Most read

Paris without a map

Paris without a map

From Mondrian to Margiela: a very personal blending of influences – design and otherwise – make this French apartment a veritable tour de force.
The skyline shifter

The skyline shifter

Ground is soon to be broken for The Pacifica, a soaring new apartment complex that has the ability to reinvigorate an enclave of Auckland’s downtown.
Casa Perfection

Casa Perfection

A house in the hills of Los Angeles has recently become a showroom for The Future Perfect, a design store with additional locations in Manhattan and San Francisco.
Made to measure

Made to measure

This sophisticated Moscow home shows how custom-designed spaces, furniture and fittings can take the uniformity out of apartment living.
Well connected

Well connected

Like a well kept secret, a renovated 1930s bungalow hides a black steel and glass addition from the street.
Homes for barter

Homes for barter

Urbis chats to the co-founders of a home exchange website aimed solely at creatives about trading their highly curated abodes with perfect strangers.