100% DESIGN SA…. reflections

We all have design heroes …designers whose designs leave you in awe of the detailing, phenomenal craftsmanship and pure genius of their design ideas. Last week I got to stand alongside some of these heroes -  South Africa’s best designers at 100% DESIGN SOUTH AFRICA (9-13 August 2017).

I am writing this blog as a personal designer journal entry – to act as a reminder for those days when the journey is very real, momentum is slow and vision is blurred.

I had lots of incredible conversations during the week but two that really stood out was with Phillip Hollander and David Krynauw. Phillip, one of the founders of HOUTLANDER, humbly shared where they started 3 years ago and how they journeyed to where they are now – winning the award for Best Furniture Design at the show. Through hard work and strategic partnerships, HOUTLANDER identified a niche in the South African furniture industry and perfected the craft of spindle back seating. David Krynauw shared how he has been in the furniture design industry for 10 years but only really started to fully understand the business of design within the last 3 years.

I am incredibly proud of the AlphaBET furniture range that was on display this past week, but being surrounded by the best can so easily lead to those sneaky feelings of intimidation & insecurity. And, if one is not careful of such comparison you will find yourself trapped by two dangerous P’s: An exaggerated desire for Perfectionism that leads to Procrastination.

Listening to Phillip and Dawid’s stories helped me realize again - THIS IS MY STARTING POINT. I will therefore CHOOSE to be inspired by my industry heroes and let that inspiration drive me to create even better designs. Just because my products are not yet where I dream them to be, doesn’t mean they won’t be there someday!


Comfortable in my own ‘designer’ skin.

Reflecting back on my design journey, 5 years of studying, 7 years in the industry and 1 year of personal business pursuits. This last year of starting a business has been the most liberating creative experience, of embracing my unique creative approach and choosing to enjoy the ride.

 To come into one's own is defined as: To become independent; to be recognized as independent and capable, usually after much effort or time. On a personal level this definition is further translated into a level of comfort and confidence in my own designer skin and ability.

I realized while studying my approach to design was mostly shaped and influenced by a very ‘purist’ academic view. When I entered the industry these ‘purist’ pursuits were quickly brought down to scale by the reality of budget constraints and populist tastes and trends.

For me, like most young designers, self-doubt and comparison had subtly shaped the process of design into a stressful amalgamation of insecurities. Of constantly looking at other local and international presidents and battling with the feeling of never quite measuring up. And like a designer with a style crisis, I became a chameleon mimicking the design approach of whoever I was working for and what I was seeing around me.

But bravely venturing out on my own – has been an incredibly freeing experience. It’s brought me to a place where I can confidently say – This is ME as a designer! Everybody might not like my designs – but somebody will! And that somebody usually LOVES it!

When I see something of absolute beauty in any built form, whether a space, a product or a building. I CHOOSE to be inspired and then let that inspiration be translated into a drive to create even - better.

We all are running a race of some kind, my challenge to myself and you reading this blog is to constantly evolve, learn and grow but boldly embrace confidence as you unlock the gift you have to give to the world around you!   



Insider Privilege

I recently completed my first solo residential ‘renovation’ project and realized yet again what an honor it is to step into clients’ private lives. For a brief period of time an interior designer gets to observe the details. The small everyday interactions people have with their intimate surroundings. And then find solutions, make plans and implement creative ideas to improve special experiences.

Yes, furniture arrangements, paint colours and new design trends might seem so trivial. But how rewarding is it to hear your clients say: this space seems so peaceful NOW. There is definitely a psychological side to décor.

We help shape lifestyles. It IS a privilege to set the tone and change the spatial atmosphere through interior interventions, however small they may seem. 

Creative Sabbatical Project

During a two month stay in Mauritius earlier this year in January & February 2016, I stepped out of my interior design shoes and stepped into the delightful world of colourful graphic palm leave motives. All the bright colours and patterns of the tropical environment inspired me to create a stationary range.  

Tropical Colour Inspiration / Design / Graphics / Palm Leave Stationary