As a part of the prestigious Design Indaba programme, talented young creatives from around the country were selected for a high profile exhibition at the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront.
One such creative, Josie Hardy, a second year student of Brand Building and Management at Vega School of Brand Leadership, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), wowed visitors and selectors with her beautifully crafted furniture and home ware designs.
“It was entirely unexpected, especially as my brand, BANC, was only a month old when I applied, but it’s been very exciting,” says Hardy. “It’s truly a great opportunity for people like me to be a part of something like this, as Design Indaba is at the forefront of design and innovation in South Africa and globally. There is so much to learn and see and be inspired by, which is exactly what this experience has been for me.”
Hardy’s unusual pieces are inspired by slow design, which involves thoughtful and thorough crafting rather than mass production. They are inspired by nature, contrasting the elegant timelessness of French Oak wood with the slim, clean effect of copper pipe in a modern and refreshing design. “The natural feel comes from my love of timber – specifically the look and feel of French Oak – whereas the minimal, modern design reflects my personal aesthetic preference of ‘less is more’,” she explains.
Surprisingly, Hardy did not always dream of being a furniture designer and did not even opt for art as a school subject. However, her grandfather was a carpenter by trade and her father taught her carpentry skills from his own home workshop. Then, a chance meeting with two internationally acclaimed designers finally inspired her to give her creative ideas free rein.
Equipped with only the skills taught to her by her father and head full of ideas, Hardy knew she needed to gain as much industry knowledge and business acumen as she could in order to succeed. “I was torn between studying a business-orientated degree and a more specialised creative degree, such as product design or visual communication,” she says. “In the end, I decided that I wanted to do a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and The IIE, through Vega, offered the opportunity to do this with an additional creative development module, allowing me to achieve both of my objectives.”
Although Hardy is still only a student, her education has already helped to shape her perceptions about art and design, providing her with a broader and more diverse understanding of her chosen path. “One of the reasons that I chose Vega was because it is a creative environment, which has been invaluable in building my industry awareness while encouraging me in my artistic and creative expression,” she continues. “The lessons I’ve learnt about branding have helped me to be strategic with creating and maintaining my brand, and the finance module has helped me with the admin side of starting a small business, which has been invaluable.”
Going forward, Hardy is not resting her future on one design stream. She is looking to branch out from her use of copper towards the marriage of wood and steel. “To be honest, for the most part, I just design pieces that I would use and that I find beautiful to look at,” she concludes.
Those interested in pursuing an IIE BBA or any other brand building, design, business or communication qualifications at Vega, you can find out more at www.vegaschool.com