Spice Up Your Interior With Some Quirky Stools

By Marica

We generally underestimate the effect a couple of funky ottomans or stools can have on the overall appearance of an interior or room. Stools are excellent feature pieces – they do for a room what a beautiful necklace does for an outfit. You can instantly convey a certain style or feel by plopping a few quirky stools or ottomans into an otherwise bland interior. I found a handful brilliant off-beat stools for your perusal…

The Bucket Stool by Pedersen & Lennard

The Bucket Stool by Pedersen & Lennard caused quite a stir at last year’s Design Indaba. In some way, this out-of-the-box concept ushered in a season of South African design free from traditional constraints of what design should look like and what construction materials should be. Pedersen & Lennard recently released a refined version of this sleek signature piece – now in even more trendy colours. The stool also doubles up as a storage unit or ice bucket once the upholstered seat is removed.

Recycled Tyre Stool by Tyred

These awesome stools, made from old and used tyres, are seriously brilliant. The brainchild of Sean Smith, Tyred not only cleans up the environment by recycling discarded tyres, but also plays a part in job creation as Sean employs local men and families. Pictured above, is the custom designed range, featuring the designs of local designers and artists. What makes it all the more amazing – almost half of the profits go to their chosen charity, Men on the Side of the Road, and the rest to the designers and production.

iSITho Wire Stool Collection by Indalo Project

Indalo, a non-profit organization that connects professional designers with local craft producers hopes to change lives through original and sophisticated design. Nicci Drzewicki’s iSITho collection inspired by traditional African furniture, such as headrests and seats, now beautifully crafted from wire with timber seats, will look smashing in any contemporary interior.

Hatbox and Suitcase Ottomans by Recreate

By now, you all must be familiar with Katie Thompson from Recreate who takes unwanted junk and turn them into quirky treasures. I just love these hatbox and retro suitcase ottomans – adorable!

Bucket Stools & Tub Ottoman by Recreate

Also featured on Recreate’s website, these wacky stools made from old buckets and a deep-buttoned ottoman made from a rusty galvanized tub.

Isabella Stool by Ryan Frank

Isabella is a totem style stacking designed by South African born, Ryan Frank. Drawing inspiration from traditional hand carved African seating the stools are made from layers of Strawboard. Avoiding the use of exotic hardwood the stools are made from a solid section of Strawboard or Spruce Ply and then wrapped in 100% wool felt. Made form sustainable materials the stools come in a range of bold colours and finishes.

Wire Stool by Willard Musarurwa

Willard Musarurwa started making his wire furniture in the township where he lived, making a meagre income. With the help of Stephen Burks from Aid to Artisans (through Cape Crafts and Design Institute) they designed the celebrated wire stool and table which is now available from Weylandts and Willard’s company, African Feeling.

I have to say, what I appreciate about all these products is that all of them, in some way or another, promote sustainable design and job creation, which is genuinely commendable.

Images & Info via designer’s websites.


Irish History – Near & Far

This wave of Irish nostalgia that I am experiencing could not be dispelled in one post because I really wanted to share some slightly more personal experiences, knowledge and images with you.

The images below reflect this ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Claddagh, as well as some classic Galway daily life and culture.

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Galway City is one of the hot Irish tourist attractions.  What draws me to it, are the similarities it bears with Cape Town.  Some of those being that it is regarded as the cultural centre of Ireland; it is a beautiful coastal city, filled to the brim with tourists in the summer. Most touching of all their cultural history in similarity to Cape Town’s District Six, is The Claddagh District.

The Claddagh is a stretch of land on the seaside port area of Galway, where a very tightly knit group of fisherman and their families settled.  The Celtic language and traditions were guarded by them.  But without going into too much depth, the similarity to District Six in Cape Town is the fact that there was a time in Galway’s history that the powers that be decided to “do away” with the Claddagh Village.  In so doing, the culture and memories of that vital sector of Galway was eroded.

Good news though – like District Six, the folly of history’s ways are being rectified, with renewed interest and development in The Claddagh. It is a desirable, upmarket district to live in, with the architecture of the buildings/houses paying homage to a lost culture.

I raise my glass to St. Paddy for keeping the Irish alive in our hearts on at least one day of the year – internationally. Who would have thought such a small nation, could impact the world so powerfully, what with most global cities who know what is good for them, having at least one Irish Pub.   Even in desert cities such as Dubai, we experienced the ‘Irish Village’.  (Can you believe it – they even export this ‘Village’ to one of the most prestigious annual events in Dubai – The Dubai Horse Race.  And more people are rocking in the village, than there are watching the actual race – I saw this with mine own eyes.)

St. Patrick’s Day Design Inspiration

By Marica

Here is some green St. Paddy’s Day Design Inspiration we love…

Green Glasses Cushion – ModDiva @ Etsy /   Foliage Scatter – Weylandts /   Queen Of Hearts Chair – Robert Thompson.com /   Lamp –  Fundi Light & Living /   Green Bathroom – The Sugar Monster @ Flickr /  Green & Silver Wallpaper – The Fabric Library /  Green Giraffe Cushions – BlueDoorStyle @ Etsy / Gambler (Miami) Sofa – Casamento /  Green Framed Picture – Nicole Suder @ Etsy

Green John Wayne Art – Alan Derrick @ Etsy /   Green Glass Vase – OurShabbyCottage @ Etsy /   Green Zebra Pouffe – boujiandnouna @ Etsy /   Wasabi Napkins – Skinny laMinx @ Etsy /  Peacock Chair – Minthome @ Etsy /   Green Espresso Print – Mengseldesign @ Etsy /   Le Creuset Kiwi Cacotte – Yuppie Chef

St. Paddy’s Day Induced Design Nostalgia

St. Paddy’s Day (as the Irish commonly refer to it) has brought on a wave of nostalgia in our office, taking us back to the years 2005 – 2008 and 2010.   These were the years when we were fortunate and privileged enough to be appointed by one of Ireland’s progressive developers and hoteliers, O’Reilly & Associates, as the Interior Designers & Decorators for some of their hotel projects.

The House Hotel - Galway, Ireland

We took hold of the opportunity of showcasing and exporting to Ireland both SA design talent and locally produced products – hard and soft finishes.  It was a very exciting time for our company and our base of suppliers.

The House Hotel - Galway, Ireland

But more so, it was exciting to become closely involved with the Irish people, their gorgeous country and their culture.  This same culture includes a great deal of talking, drinking, socializing and generosity.  Having spent so much time there, I adopted some of their language clichés, which were just so expressive to me.

Aghadoe Heights Hotel, Ireland

Talking of those parties, despite the Irish economy being so badly hit by the Global Recession (one of the first countries to be deeply touched by the slump) I have absolutely no doubt that the tradition of celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with a hearty get together in some party form, will be the order of the Day – with Guinness in hand.  (One thing I could not take to try as I did).

Aghadoe Heights Hotel - Restaurant, Ireland

Indulge our nostalgic wave just a little today by allowing us to share some images of our Irish Hotel Projects with you…

Absolute Hotel, Limerick, Ireland

HAPPY ST PADDY’S DAY CELEBRATION to all our Irish friends we were privileged to meet during our time in Ireland, a place and its people that remain close to my heart.

The House Hotel – Website

Aghadoe Heights Hotel – Website

Absolute Hotel – Website

Our Website

Design Indaba 2011: Raw Studios

By Marica

Raw Studios, another Design Indaba 2011 exhibitor, also caught my eye (they’re my secret favourite, shhhhh).

Under the creative guidance of Pretoria-based furniture designer Peet Van Straaten, Raw Studios design and manufacture beautiful furniture pieces from sustainable engineered materials often making use of CNC machining processes. Their natural birch plywood product ranges can be customized with funky colours and quirky prints.

Peet van Straaten from Raw Studios - Image via Visi.co.za

Now if there is one thing I appreciate more than an attractive design, it’s a clever attractive design.  The genius of Raw Studios’ product ranges (other than the sleek and simplistic good-looks) is the intelligent, and might I add environmentally friendly, way it’s all put together. They have spend some time designing and perfecting joining and clipping systems that, in some of their designs, renders toxic glues assembling tools obsolete. Truly masters of innovation.

As for that sleek and simplistic product, Peet must have picked that up in Rotterdam – he spent 6 years there cultivating his design and joinery skills. The Dutch are renowned for their simplistic, functional and often quirky designs.

Raw Studios - Ikonik

Ikonik is Raw Studios’ take on the original old school steel locker. It is fully modular, flexible and durable.

Raw Studios - Klik

Klik is a modular storage system with magnitude of possibilities from office workstations to shopfitting and children’s rooms. A smorgasbord of modular elements such as shelving, work tops, cupboards, drawers and storage boxes simply “klik” into the base panel and can be reconfigured as requirements change. I would love this for our studio.

Raw Studios - Tressel

Tressel is Raw Studios modular interpretation of the traditional trestle table. The Tressel top is available in natural birch and white, but the legs can be stained – the table looks seriously funky with colourful legs.

Raw Studios - Sideklik

The Sidekik server has the added functionality of a removable table component that effectively doubles the serving area. Two tables arranged back to back will produce a full size dining table for 6-8 people.

Raw Studios - Slowfa

Slowfa is a very simple little bench seat in three different sizes. Several colours can be applied to the inside of the Slowfa for extra effect. It’s cute, né!

In a recent interview with Visi, Peet stated that he believes plywood is the new hardwood (only better). We have undoubtedly seen a general trend in furniture design gravitating toward plywood and particle board products. Why? Well, plywood is flexible, cheap, workable & recyclable. It is also resistant to cracking, shrinkage, and twisting/warping. It has a general high degree of strength… oh and don’t forget that it’s more eco-friendly and sustainable than hardwood. I can definitely see why this is Raw Studios’ material of choice.

Images & Info via Raw Studios.co.za – do yourself a favour & check out their website

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Design Indaba 2011: Design Kist

By Marica

I think it is fair that I inform you from the get go that I am totally in love…

…with Design Kist.


How did this love affair start you may ask? Well, dearest Internet, I was one of the unlucky few who could regrettably not attend Design Indaba this year (shock and horror, I know) but fortunately Rose did. To my greatest joy she brought back with her a GIANT stack of business cards, brochures and pamphlets over which I faffed for a whole afternoon.  Now I’ve heard of Design Kist before, but I must not have been paying attention because when I took a quick squiz through their online gallery yesterday I fell head of heels and I’ve been drooling over their designs ever since… it’s a compulsion really.


For those of you still in the dark – Design Kist is an online surface design studio and the brainchild of South African textile designer, Kristen Morkel. She noticed how local retailers and manufacturers often sourced digital surface designs from European design studios to print onto fabric and manufacture into products. There were no South African counterpart to these studios and a gap existed between retailers and talented surface designers in South Africa.


Launched in 2010, Design Kist features a collection of freelancing South African surface designers who submit their work to be sold online. They sell fabric designs for bedding and clothing, and prints for gift wrap and stationery, but the patterns can also be used on homeware, accessories, packaging, upholstery and wallpaper.


As designers submit designs, they’re added to an online gallery, ready to be purchased, downloaded and printed. Clients need to register and obtain a password before they’re given access to the gallery, which protects the exclusivity of their designs. The cool thing is – once you paid for and downloaded your high res Design Kist image, you attain full and exclusive copyright on that specific design / pattern.


When clients are looking to develop something specific; Design Kist creates customised designs & collections. They also tweak colours and sizes of existing designs to give clients exactly what they’re looking for.

Design Kist also just launched a funky (growing) wallpaper range that can be purchased online for home delivery. Wouldn’t you just love to have their pattern-y beauteousness all over your walls? I would!

Local is most certainly lekker! I’ll leave you now to continue my drooling… I suggest you do the same.

{  So what exactly is Surface Design? Well, it encompasses a wide range of surface applications that gives structure, pattern, or colour to fibre & fabric such as gift-wrap, wallpaper, fashion textiles, home textiles, carpet design as well as surface design on ceramics, glass, wood, plastics, steel and automotive fabrics.  }