New Name And New Home For Southern Guild

The Guild Group launches with mission to revolutionise African Design

Southern Guild Silo, due to open in March 2017, is the new flagship location for The Guild Group at the V&A Waterfront Silo District, a 35 000-square-metre mixed-use pedestrianised precinct currently under major development.

The Guild Group, with a mission to revolutionise African design in the global marketplace, has a new website at, communicating the particulars of the various dynamic companies and projects falling under its brand umbrella.

Having been integral in establishing 12 design-related brands since 2003, the group’s directors, Trevyn and Julian McGowan, most recognised for collectible design gallery Southern Guild and export agency Source, have launched The Guild Group, a holding brand under which all their companies and associated contracts and projects will operate.

This comes as they announce their tenure of a new flagship location for Southern Guild at the V&A Waterfront Silo District, a 35 000-square-metre mixed-use pedestrianised precinct currently under major development. Southern Guild Silo, due to open in March 2017, marks an exciting new era for the McGowans, who have spearheaded the local design industry – from exhibiting and promoting, to retailing, exporting, developing and advising.

‘Our move to the V&A Waterfront means we can create a home where we’re able to bring together in one space everything that The Guild Group stands for and towards which it has been working for more than a decade,’ says Trevyn. ‘Southern Guild Silo will allow us to continue elevating the collectible design category in Africa, while working on partnerships with international galleries, fairs and design museums, exposing Cape Town residents and visitors to never-before-seen local and international work.’

The McGowans, who have previously worked with the V&A Waterfront when hosting Africa’s only international design fair, GUILD at The Lookout, recognise the significance of the Waterfront being the most visited site in Africa. ‘The globally anticipated Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) means the Silo District is set to become an incredibly dynamic precinct, attracting local and international visitors to this ground-breaking cultural destination. Our new, permanent 400-square-metre space ensures we’ll be able to offer a year-round experience in the ethos of GUILD,’ says Trevyn, pointing to the fact that Southern Guild Silo will not only house a gallery, but a curated retail offering as well as opportunities for activations and events. ‘It will be a hub for education, discussion, animation, presentation and exchange.’

Having already established retail stores ODEON and Mon Âme, The Guild Group will bring to Southern Guild Silo a concept-driven experience, selling bespoke items of homeware, fashion, jewellery and accessories, books and artworks alongside contemporary and limited-edition design. Tammy Tinker, previously Style Director at Superbalist, will join the team as Creative Director, while Esperanza Nortje, from the Truworths group, joins as Retail Director of The Guild Group. Both high-profile additions to the team speak of the group’s vigorous growth as it forges into its next phase of commercial innovation.

Southern Guild’s Woodstock gallery will continue to function as an exhibition space, hosting complementary design programmes, while its recently launched Johannesburg venue, in collaboration with art gallery WHATIFTHEWORLD, breaks new ground in co-exhibiting African art and design.

Recently returned from representing South Africa at the inaugural London Design Biennale, and exhibiting at Maison&Objet in Paris with Source, its agency responsible for the lion’s share of international retail exports, The Guild Group continuously undertakes various programmes offering practical business support and creative input to aid in growing the design industry on the continent. It coordinates the Danish Government-funded Design Network Africa, and is behind Business of Design, the annual conference co-founded with Platform Creative Agency. The yearly not-for-profit Design Foundation Awards, celebrating South African talent, are also overseen by the group.

In addition, The Guild Group draws on its producer networks, industry knowledge and design capacity to assist in creating experiential spaces and retail concepts, with services that range from curation, creative direction and spatial design to promotion and retail operations, as provided for the pioneering initiatives Watershed in Cape Town and Work Shop New Town in Johannesburg.

The Guild Group is directed by Trevyn and Julian McGowan and has a staff complement of 33 between its Cape Town and Johannesburg operations.

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