South African designer Haldane Martin founded his eponymous design studio in 2002 to create iconic furniture designs and later interior spaces with a powerful sense of identity and conceptual depth.
As a designer he has been instrumental in the emergence of a new South African design language and identity, both in his early signature furniture designs and more recent commercial interiors that contribute towards the evolution of culture.
Early works such as the iconic Songololo sofa and Zulu Mama chair were groundbreaking South African designs that seamlessly integrate indigenous craft, sustainability, cultural identity, biomimicry, geometry and digital design, becoming highly sought after by design collectors and connoisseurs worldwide.
The studio’s more recent high-concept interior design work has also captured global attention. Haldane Martin works together with commercial brands to create extraordinary spaces. Concepts that capture the essence of a brand transform into innovative interiors with unique character. Original furniture designs and custom fittings created by Haldane Martin for each interior further manifest the brand’s identity in a physical, three-dimensional way.
The studio’s first large-scale commercial project, Truth Coffee’s steampunk-inspired HQ in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, was named “world’s best coffee shop” by MSN Travel in 2013 and again by The Telegraph UK in 2015, and won a Gold Loerie for interior design the same year. This concept interior with its unique bespoke elements is exemplary of the design studio’s ability to tap into the essence of the client’s brand identity and express it through objects and space in an iconic way.
Most recently, Haldane Martin won Best Restaurant Design in Africa and the Middle East for Mad Giant at the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards 2017 held in London.
For Haldane, a design is intuitively recognised as iconic when it marries innovation with beauty and captures the zeitgeist of the day in a timeless fashion. He believes in integrating conceptual depth, aesthetic beauty and elegant functionality into one seamless whole.
Designer Haldane Martin has taken an existing chair typology and manufacturing technique and gently evolved it to create the Sim-Ply Collection. The result is well-considered, balanced chairs that are beautiful, comfortable, well made, economical, eco-friendly, on trend, locally manufactured and available in customer-specific bespoke finish options. The Sim-Ply name is derived from the simple curved plywood seats and backs. The chair collection is visually distinctive for its simple rounded forms, cute proportions, friendly finishes and an unusually wide backrest that hugs the sitter. The collection is made up of a dining chair, a lounge chair, and barstools at two different heights. The seats and backs are made from moulded Ash veneered birch plywood, with an optional upholstered pad for additional comfort. The cross frame and legs are made from solid Ash, and the chair is assembled with stainless steel hardware. The upholstered pads are available in a selection of velvets, felts, prints and leathers, and the wood components are available in natural Ash and a selection of colour spray finishes. Interior trade customers can supply their own fabrics and specify their own spray finishes with Dulux colour codes. Prices range from R3363 to R5408 depending on finishes and upholstery.
Dimensions: dining chair 510mm wide, 530mm deep, 910mm high, 475mm seat height; barstools 460mm wide, 450mm deep, 760mm high; 460mm wide, 450mm deep, 660mm high; lounge chair 535mm wide, 635mm deep, 735mm high, 400mm seat height
Cost per unit: R 3,363