In November 2010, Artlogic produced the first Sanlam FoodWineDesign Fair on the rooftop of the Hyde Park Corner. As the Fair marks its fifth anniversary, it continues to underscore its position as the leading upmarket event that showcases and celebrates the best of South Africa’s lifestyle and craftsmanship are producing in these three fields. Following an international trend for trade shows in the creative spheres to take place in unusual and custom made spaces, the venue of the Fair creates a fittingly bespoke experience.
The fair, the first of its kind, caters to the crossover interests of a discerning yet eclectic lifestyle. These are people who want to experience the best in local cuisine, leading and boutique wines, and who with custom made spaces furbish their living spaces with the works of some of South Africa’s top designers and artists. This year’s fair promises a fittingly bespoke and memorable experience surprises for the over 12,000 new and returning visitors from 100 handpicked artisans and a number of special projects. Some of the popular returning exhibitors guests can expect include Richard Bosman, Dark Horse, YSWARA, and Goet, however guests can look forward to exciting work by newcomers such as Cavalli, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, and Mungo.
What led to the name change of Sanlam FoodWineDesign Fair to Sanlam Handmade Contemporary FoodWineDesign Fair?
Ours was the first lifestyle event in South Africa to combine the three elements of food, wine and design. In the five years since our inception the fair has not only seen a rise of similar events country wide, but with this, a rise in entrepreneurs and craftsmen working in these fields. We therefore believe the fair is no longer just about food, wine and design. It’s about the people behind these products and the stories they have to tell. And this is why the fair has been renamed the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary FoodWineDesignFair. We want to celebrate these stories and the people behind them, and acknowledge that there is a fast-growing return to the artisanal, and a trend towards knowing where everything you buy comes from and how it was produced.
How has the fair evolved since inception?
The fair is now undoubtedly one of Johannesburg’s most popular boutique events. Over five years it has become a premiere destination for producers, meaning the standard of our applications has improved dramatically and we are able to showcase only the best of South African food, wine and design. As our venue has a space limit, we have not grown in size, but rather in quality.
How do you find the business environment of Johannesburg?
As elsewhere, business is tough for small producers at the moment. Which is why events such as ours offer such a great opportunity – it’s an invaluable sales and marketing platform for them and it really helps
In what way has the fair contributed to contemporary South African life and the society? As previously mentioned, there has been a rise of similar events, and we feel that the market model is becoming much more popular. People are gravitating towards outdoor and pop-up events, as an alternative to the usual mall experience. These opportunities have led to a rise in small producers, and a fast-growing return to handmade. Many consumers now prefer to buy face-to-face from the producer so they know where their product originated from and how it was produced.
Are there any plans to expand the fair in terms of participants and products currently exhibited?
As mentioned, we have spatial limitations on the roof, so we won’t be having more exhibitors for now. This works well for us, as the focus is on keeping the quality high and maintaining an appealing mix.
WORDS OLIVER ENWONWU AND LADUN OGIDAN AND IMAGES: MIKE TURNER