Latest Posts

Conflict and climate change are big barriers for Africa’s Great Green Wall

Fourteen years since the launch of Africa’s Great Green Wall project, only 4% of the 100 million hectares (247 million…

Read More..

For South Africa’s dwindling renosterveld, there’s now a ‘panic button’ app

The renosterveld shrubland once covered the Swartland and Overberg regions of western South Africa, but its rich soils led farmers…

Read More..

Acts of violence or a cry for help? What fuels Kenya’s school fires

A young boy walks by a burnt-out dormitory building set on fire by students during the night of school unrest…

Read More..

What lies behind uprisings in Eswatini: the unfinished business of democratic reform

Eswatini King Mswati II’s despotic rule is increasingly under pressure from citizens yearning for democracy. Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via…

Read More..

Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro strengthens collaboration & clash detection

WorldsView, value-added distributor of Autodesk in Africa, delivers and supports Autodesk® BIM Collaborate Pro, formerly known as BIM 360 Design,…

Read More..

South Africa faces a slowly worsening chronic fiscal crisis

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa: His party’s 2022 elective conference and the country’s 2024 national elections will define political choices.…

Read More..

What African countries got out of COP26

In January 2015, a three-day rain displaced nearly quarter of a million people, devastated 64,000 hectares of land, and killed…

Read More..

Freestanding stairs made easy with Terraforce

Terraforce 4×4 Step blocks were used to create freestanding stairs at a farm in the Hex River Valley. Need a…

Read More..

27th Nov 2021

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Feat of clay: Ceramic designer Jan Ernst exhibits in Paris and New York

South African ceramic designer Jan Ernst is a multidisciplinary creative specializing in functional art and spatial design using clay as his main medium. The work is driven by his fascination with natural structures such as corals, fungi, and rock formations. His organic designs stem from his abstract understanding of form and space influenced by his background in architecture, his connection with the natural world, and his South African heritage.

He is currently exhibiting his collectible design pieces through the New York branch of international contemporary sculptural design and art gallery, Galerie Philia. After this leg of the exhibition, entitled “Into the Wild”, select pieces move on to Galerie Philia in Paris.

“Into the Wild” is an original concept organized by Galerie Philia that showcases hand-sculpted art design pieces in natural landscapes. According to the gallery, “this physical translation enables the public to admire the design artworks in a novel way by creating a fruitful discrepancy. The eyes not only look but apprehend the works creatively in this particular context. Silent resonances hatch and multiply between the artworks and the surrounding nature. The idea is to convey a distinct sight of what sculptural design work is…”

For “Into the Wild”, Ernst’s poetic clay works are pictured against the spectacular setting of the Cederberg region in South Africa. Driven by his fascination with natural structures, Ernst presents his sculptural artworks in an enigmatic natural environment where marks of ancient human presence can be felt.

“It is incredible to be taking a bit of South Africa to the show, as my work is inspired by the natural landscapes that we have here,” he says. “Most of the designers on the show come from Europe and the US, so it is refreshing to see designs from other parts of the world that attract interest. And it is fantastic to exhibit in New York and Paris, where the elite of the design world hangs out!” he adds.

There are roughly 10 pieces on the show and Ernst describes them as a “very eclectic collection”. His candelabra, seed pod vessels, table lamps, eye lamp, worm lamp, and squiggle side table have been included.

“It is of course an incredible honour to be exhibiting with other emerging and established artists from around the world – there are some very big names on the show, such as Rick Owens, who is a well-known fashion designer. I am thrilled to be on an international platform with designers of that caliber.”

In addition to showcasing internationally, Ernst recently exhibited his work here in South Africa as part of the landmark group show “Right Here, Right Now!” at Union House in Cape Town. This substantial exhibition of contemporary local design and art debuted new pieces by a range of designers and finalists of the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search (HYD). “Right Here, Right Now!” was curated by Creative Director Tracy Lynch of Clout/SA and marked the public launch of Clout/SA.

Clout/SA is a purpose-first enterprise, creative agency, and business-to-business (B2B) market-maker for South African design. The aim is to promote South Africa’s creativity, craftsmanship and heritage. Additionally, creating opportunities for collaboration between corporates and designers is a main driver.

Ernst was included in “Right Here, Right Now!” to highlight the Clout/SA’s capacity to support the placement of limited edition pieces alongside designs that can be reproduced in multiple units. Ernst’s relationship with Clout/SA originated through HYD; he was a Top 10 finalist in the competition’s previous round.

Ernst credits HYD and Clout/SA as one of the motivating factors for launching his stand-alone brand Jan Ernst. He started his collectible design brand after participating in the HYD competition.

“I took part in HYD through my architectural studio, which I run with my business partner, and only subsequently started my own separate brand of collectible design focusing on ceramics. Being exposed to that way of criitical thinking about furniture and design was a contributing factor that led me to establishing my own brand. With the architectural studio we were dipping into interior design but not necessarily product design, so the HYD was definitely a pivotal point.”

After this prompt, Ernst started “playing with clay”, an exploration that evolved into his organic-inspired limited edition pieces that are all entirely handbuilt, strikingly singular, and starting to take the international design world by storm!

For more information on Jan Ernst visit
For more information on Galerie Philia visit
For more information on Clout/SA visit


If you find this website useful please spread the word.

Follow by Email