Porky Hefer was born in 1968, in the era where Radical Design emerged with Futurist-designed environments and objects that were more than a chair or a table – pieces that would assault your eyes and also your spirit. It was during this time that Wendell Castle and Joe Colombo made units of self-sufficiency to isolate and change experiences completely. It opened up horizons and possibilities that fulfilled more than simply a basic need to sit. Fascinated by the reactions and energy a piece can generate in a space, Hefer embraces Africa and the skills and processes that are readily available indigenously, rather than trying to emulate foreign processes. Making use of traditional techniques and crafts that focus on the hand rather than machinery, his work ensures that age-old skills are preserved and kept relevant in a modern age. Inspired by the weaver bird, Hefer’s life-size nests, woven with Kooboo cane, are a result of his in-depth study into this social bird’s nest-building skills, made relevant for a human audience. His work’s progression into other materials – including leather, hand-felted wool, textiles and recycled materials – has further evolved this exploration of ways in which seating environments can be presented.
Exhibited at Design Miami/ 2023 Porky Hefer makes a turn towards minimalist form in this pair of sculptural seating pods made for Design Miami. Encased in hand-stitched leather, 'John' and 'Yoko' represent a lion and a dove, respectively. Hefer set about representing the essence of each animal, limiting the overall design to one main form and experimenting with the placement of a small sphere whose position yields very different results. Their wool-lined interiors offer a cocoon of refuge and respite from the distractions of the outside world. “I wanted to create a space that felt like you were inside a snowstorm or a thick fog, so you can't see anything in front of you or focus on anything else – like white noise to clear your mind.” 'Yoko' is an ode to the bed-ins of John Lennon and Yoko Ono – “a space to sit in and reflect, a space for peace and love”.
Materials: leather, sheepskin, eucalyptus, steel.
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