Monthly Archives: September 2011

Passion & Poison

Thankfully we are surrounded by colourful, interesting and adventurous people each day. In the years of being in this interiors trade, I have had the privilege of meeting many such colourful characters. Today’s guest, Riaan from Passion & Poison is one of them. 

I first encountered the Passion & Poison shop a few years ago. It was fun and interesting then, as it is now. As you will learn from Riaan’s interview he sources his stock from Turkey.  Stepping into this shop, is like stepping into a Turkish market – full of eastern style surprises, transporting you to that part of the world and its culture.

He has all sorts of fascinating goodies, from furniture, lamps, accessories and scatters, beds, bags, fabrics – too many to mention. I would rather encourage you to go see for yourself. Plus he is very involved in the design of his scatters, bed linen and fabrics.

Q:   What lead you to open Passion & Poison?

A:   Passion & Poison was never planned, in the sense that we ever thought of opening an interior shop, focusing on Turkish textiles and antiques.

We were in Egypt at the time, busy sourcing high-end men’s fashion suppliers with the idea of opening a small upmarket men’s clothing shop.

During our stay, my partner suggested that we should consider going to Turkey, as the flight was short.

I will never forget the next morning waking up in Istanbul, seeing the people, buildings and culture. We fell in love with this dynamic country immediately and our little clothing shop was canned! It all happened so naturally. We were like hungry foxes going through alleys and markets. Within 4 days, the foundation was set for our future shop.

Turkey is a very under estimated country with wonderful history and culture. After all the years it still feels like the morning of your birthday when you were a kid, filled with excitement for what you might get.

Q:   Why the name Passion & Poison?

A:   The name has no real meaning but it boils down to that one man’s passion might be another’s poison……..

Q:   What do you enjoy most about your ‘job’?

A:   SOURCING! I love going to all the villages, markets and suppliers – sourcing wonderful new concepts and ideas. The creative side of the textiles is another love. The whole manufacturing process from basic idea to the final item is just like one huge roller coaster ride.

Q:   What type of product do you source mostly?

A:   Textiles remain the number one item. From custom woven Hamam towels, to upmarket upholstery and curtain fabrics. Silk scarves and scatter cushions. Fabric, fabric and yet more fabric. Old ornamental pieces like fountains, pots and carpets also remains in the front line.

Q:   Your five-year plan?

A:   Unfortunately with the world economy as it is now and the political tension in South Africa, I can only hope and pray that the shop will still be in existence! It sounds harsh but it is a fact. Only hard work and remaining focused could carry one through.  So in short I am focussing on excellent client service, breathtaking stock and a lot of blood sweat and tears.

Q:   A bit more personal – what is your favourite past –time when not in the shop?

A:   I love to paint. It is my escape from reality. Otherwise I love music, cooking Turkish food and once in a navy blue moon I will watch a movie.

Q:    Do you have a colour that you favour most and why?

A:   That is an extremely unfair question! I don’t have one. I have a couple. So please bear with me.  Fuscia pink, red, acid green, orange and Turquoise.

Q:   Tell us five things on your Bucket List?

1.  I want to go and stay in Turkey.

2.  I want to learn how to make sculptures

3.  I want to have a huge art exhibition

4.  I want to settle down with that “special person”.

5.  I want to visit Russia.

Q:   What do you have on your bedside table?

A:   I am reading a book for the second time called “Call me by your name”.  A rosary (which I collect), and hand cream. That’s it!

You will find Passion & Poison at the very top of Strand Street where it meets Hudson Street  in Cape Town– left hand side going up in the Hudson Building Showroom 2, De Waterkant .  Should you wish to call him, their shop number is: 021-4193840.   

Get This Look – Industrial Dining

By Marica

When I found this beautiful image on the website of renowned French photographer, Pierre-Jean Verger, I felt so inspired I just had to do a “Get the Look” for it. The core of Industrial Style is to expose elements that are usually hidden – brickwork, exposed I-beams, unfinished wood and all the nuts, bolts and mechanisms that we generally hide. Factory machinery and other bits-and-bops can easily find a new home as brilliant Industrial Style décor items. Industrial Style likes big open-plan spaces as the style originates from converted lofts, warehouses and factories. Other items and furniture that goes well with an Industrial Style space is those from the Mid-Century Modern era – feel free to throw in one or two retro items.


1. Exchange the copper Poul Henningsen lamp for this gorgeous spider-like chandelier available from Le Grange Interiors.

2. Beautiful “scaffold” shelf unit – Weylandts

3. X-Base Trestle Table – Simply Pierre 

4. Replica Jean Prouvé Standard Chair – Three6Zero (a true mid-century modern classic!)

5. Iron stool with wooden seat – Weylandts

6. Black bent-arm floor lamp – @Home

7. If you do not have an exposed brickwork wall you can always find realistic wallpaper of one – this Graham & Brown wallpaper can be ordered through Wallpaper Inn.

8. Add a bit of colour with one or two beautiful ceramic pieces – these blue jars as well as the vases and glass items on the shelves are all from Le Grange Interiors.

9. Gorgeous laminate flooring with a “distressed” effect from Floors Direct (this particular laminate even has faded French words printed on it – totally in love with it)

10. ADD THIS:   Mix and match the chairs by adding one or two of these iron beauties – available from La Grange Interiors.


Ashley Wood Inspires…

By Marica

Remember Ashley Wood? No?

The Chasing Bees Chandelier by Ashley Wood

In her Design Indaba feedback, Rose found emerging designer Ashley’s gauze bandage chandelier to be one of the most interesting designs at this year’s Indaba. We were both quite excited when Ashley mailed us shots of her latest designs – all part of her new Gauze range. Boy, we sure like what we saw! The range includes new lighting designs in addition to some awesome-looking scatter cushions (you know scatter cushions are my weakness).

Ashley, who studied fine art, designed this range exclusively for NAP living (so exciting)!

I was interested to know what she has been up to since the Indaba and what exactly inspired her work with bandage gauze as a medium…her answer was quite unexpected.

Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 15, Ashley suffered severe seizures that intensified during her 1st year of college. Most alarming was that the act of sketching induced further seizures…so her art (which she loved) became a fear. The seizures were so severe in fact, that she had to undergo brain surgery in hopes of alleviating the problem.

She noticed that, when she felt a seizure looming, she was inclined to fiddle, tear and tie anything close at hand. This act served as distraction. The experience led her to a process of creating through fiddling – the only way she could calm herself down. Art acted as therapy.

As an artist she adheres to a personal philosophy and an artistic concept of “Healing, Acceptance and dealing with Loss”. Gauze, and other medical products, therefore became a figurative embodiment of this notion. Ashley has come to love and appreciate gauze as an art material, especially its texture and varying colour qualities. It has the ability to be deconstructed and recreated into something new and entirely unrecognisable.

Ashley, who was completing her final year at the Ruth Prowse School of Art when she partook in the Design Indaba, was quite surprised by the overwhelming interest she got post-Indaba. She even had the amazing opportunity for her chandeliers to be showcased as part of a national fashion show for Kristall Mantwa in collaboration with Sharne van Rynveld.

Ashley aspires to one day have her own store featuring her art and products as well as the works of selected artists and designers. She is also currently working on new artworks for a ONE DAY art exhibition, partially curated by her and fellow Ruth Prowse graduates Katharina Foster, Adele van Heerden, Bianca de Klerk and Anya Kovas.

Ashley, you are truly an amazing inspiration and an exceptional woman! We give you the Royal Seal of Awesomeness.

Check out Ashley’s Facebook page: here

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