Featured workDokter and Misses: Sun City (HTH) and Verster (HTH)

Like other pieces by design duo Dokter and Misses, where freedom, fear and security are constantly in discussion, the Sun City (HTH) drinks cabinet and Verster (HTH) table are layered with narrative, political hints, and historical and cultural references that convey a multifaceted nature of South Africa.

During a trip to Southern Mozambique, designers Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin observed the elaborate use of window, door and veranda bars everywhere. “The idea that security could be decorative was very appealing,” state Hugo and Taplin, “and a refreshing take on the ugly aggression of security doors and razor wire.” The creation of Sun City (HTH) and Verster (HTH) ensued; the titles of both pieces add meaning to them. In the case of the drinks cabinet, Sun City (HTH) refers to a casino and entertainment city – once forbidden in South Africa – with the same name; simultaneously, it is the slang name for a Johannesburg prison. In the case of the table, the name Verster (HTH) alludes to the prison from where Nelson Mandela was released, the Victor Verster Prison. According to the designers, both works portray “an irreverent comment on the typical South African suburban landscape: burglar bars and swimming pools. Middle-class families commonly own homes with pools around which the family congregates on weekends to drink, swim, watch sport and braai (barbeque). A sparklingly blue pool is a sign of success and a happy place. These homes are also heavily protected by burglar bars in order to secure the family’s hard-earned possessions and are a daily reminder that security is a big issue. So much so that it has become part of our identity.”

  • Dokter and Misses. Sun City (HTH), 2013. Drinks cabinet, airbrushed and powder coated mild steel shelves in smoked glass, base made of concrete-mixing, 220 × 99.4 × 49.4 cm. Courtesy of Southern Guild © Dokter and Misses, photo by Greg Cox

    Dokter and Misses. Verster (HTH), 2013. Sideboard, airbrushed and powder coated mild steel, plate of mixed concrete, 90 × 80 × 35 cm. Courtesy of Southern Guild © Dokter and Misses, photo by Greg Cox

    Dokter and Misses. Sun City (HTH), 2013; and Verster (HTH), 2013