Creative SA: Zana

Creative SA: Zana

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we want to share the gorgeous products of Cape Town-based creative studio, Zana, with you.

Zana produces beautiful screen-printed products – textiles, bags, cushions, and other fashion and home accessories but to name a few of their “giftables”. Their trendy graphic designs are bold and fun with a definite Scandi flair.

“We love to create things that pack a punch and give you that hair-blowing-back, confetti-bomb experience. We are in love with colour, pattern and typography. This is really what gets us inspired.”

– ZanaRead More »

Block & Chisel

Creative SA: Block & Chisel

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

The South African creatives we want to share with you today are very special indeed. Block & Chisel is celebrating an extraordinary milestone this year. 2017 marks the furniture and homeware company’s 30th anniversary – which is no small achievement for any business. They are one of the few local creatives who have built their business into a powerful, recognised local brand. One might even call them a furniture and decor dynasty.

We here at Design Monarchy hold Block & Chisel and their founders, Lynn & Sibley McAdam, in very high regard. The way in which they have developed and grown their product range over the decades is admirable.

The husband and wife team first began this journey after Lynn sold Biggie Best. With Lynn’s eye for beautiful pieces together with Sibley’s passion for restoring antiques and crafting fine furniture, Block & Chisel was born. The past 15 years has seen Block & Chisel welcome the McAdams’s son and daughter into the fold.

I, as a relatively “green” designer, love when Rose, who has been in the South African decorating industry for decades, enlightens me on the history of certain creatives and local design-related businesses. Block & Chisel is such a business – Rose can distinctly remember when they first opened their doors in 1987. Now 30 years later they own multiple successful shops.

Block & Chisel fills a very distinctive niche in the furniture and decorative accessories market. Their flavour is distinctly upmarket. They manage to create this delicious mix of eclectic, luxury, traditional but also contemporary, trendy yet timeless, oh-so-chic elements.

While Block & Chisel has their fingers firmly on the global interior trend pulse, they stay rooted in the company’s slightly colonial foundation which is evident in their classic French and English Country ranges.

Sibley first introduced these designs in the early years and to this day, it still forms the backbone of the Block & Chisel product range. In recent years more contemporary designs have been added. Lynn expertly accents these locally manufactured pieces with carefully chosen treasures to create an overall eclectic flair.

It is always such a treat and sensory experience to visit Block & Chisel in Diep River where we often shop and source for our clients. Not only does the showroom smell amazing, it is also filled with layer upon layer of the most beautiful furniture and decorative accessories. The showroom layout and various room settings tell such a wonderful decorative “story”.

We believe the key to Block & Chisel’s success (other than their visionary and talented owners) is longevity. Longevity, not only in their product ranges, but also in their business model. They keep evolving and reinventing to cater to their chosen market. And that is what we appreciate most about Block & Chisel.

Be sure to check out the Block & Chisel to see their full range of furniture & decorative accessories.

You can also follow Block & Chisel on FacebookInstagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

Creative SA: Lulasclan

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Marica Fick

Today we would like to introduce you to the bright and bold creations of Lulasclan Design Studio.

Lulasclan (or Lula’s Clan) is the brainchild of Bonolo Helen Chepape, a Joburg based creative with a background in graphic design. While the Lulasclan style is steeped in Bonolo’s African heritage, it undeniably has a strong contemporary appeal. Bonolo refers to this style as “New African” – a fresh and chic interpretation on African design.

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Following her passion, Bonolo left her 9-to-5 last November striking out on her own to form Lulasclan. It is in fact amazing to see how far she has come in such a short period of time – a true testament that one should heed Passion’s call.

Lulasclan recently launched a collection of scatter cushions titled “AfricanWest”. True to its name, the designs feature a marriage of African and “Western” motifs. Finding inspiration in the leaded lines of stained glass windows often found in Roman Cathedrals, Bonolo fused it with the shapes and bold colours of the traditional patterns of the Nguni people.

I am however even more taken with funky designs of Lulasclan’s previous scatter cushion range. The “Meet the Other Side of Africa” collection was launched end last year and features the retro-tastic portraits of several modish African ladies.

The series is said to celebrate Women. Each cushion, each woman, has her own inspiring story and individual characteristics. These scatters have a distinct Pop Art flavour and the use of pattern and colour within the designs are quite striking.

I think what appeals to me most about Lulasclan is the masterful fusion of two worlds and cultures. Her chic designs perfectly illustrate how African aesthetics can find a voice and global appeal in the contemporary design market.

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Be sure to check out the Lulasclan website to see their full range of scatters.

You can also follow Lulasclan on FacebookInstagramTwitter.
Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

Creative SA: Miche Watkins

Last year we introduced a new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

by Rose McClement

In the spirit of moving forward with this series, I would like to introduce you to another South African artist, Miche Watkins.  Miche and I met online – how that came about I just simply can’t remember.  But you know the story, if you knock around a few online portals long and often enough, you find one another.

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

Since that first time a few years ago we have kept pace with each other via Facebook largely, until Miche visited Cape Town last year, when we had the opportunity of catching up eyeball to eyeball. Although Miche relocated to the UK a few years ago to be close to her family, she lived in Cape Town for a long time. That I think was the glue that formed the bond early in our friendship, the fact that I used to post images of beautiful Mother City and she would respond with great yearning.

I’m not much of an art “knower” or a “knower of art”, but this I do know about myself… I know what art appeals to me. Over the past few years I have exposed myself to more and more artists and in doing so I have come to understand that which appeals to me and that which just goes over my head.

The question then is what is it that appeals to me about the body of work that Miche brings to the world?  It is her particular style of Pop Art-ish line drawings – she only introduces a hint of red or colour that I am simply taken with.  They are funky, contemporary, youthful and more often than not, faceless images.

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

As a decorator finding something that is appealing yet not specific in terms of its image, is a very big draw. Her art can be installed into offices, hotels and residences alike – any space that can indulge a bit of contemporary funk. I see Miche’s art hanging on the walls of some trendy millennial’s apartment or in the room of an edgy teen.

She has recently introduced another element into these clean lined paintings – that of Street Art.  It’s the combination of the street art and line drawings that work for me. Take a look for yourself and you decide if this art appeals to you or not.

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

In closing let me add that I have great admiration for artists who put out their work for the public to scrutinise – possibly appreciate, or possibly criticise.  They are such a brave crowd of creatives. Plus having to market their work in an already overcrowded arena and run it like a business – that takes extra commitment to the cause.

Futher, I know that Miche puts her heart and soul into her paintings as well as her business.  Hats off to her!

Creative SA: Artist Miche Watkins

Her work can be seen and purchased on the online art portal, State of the Art, as well as the bricks and mortar State of The Art Gallery in Bree Street, Cape Town – the heart of our buzzing city.

You can also follow Miche on FacebookInstagramTwitter.
Creative SA: Leila Fanner - Artist

Creative SA: Leila Fanner

Earlier in the month we introduced our new blog series, Creative SA. In this series we will regularly feature South African makers.

For our third installment of the Creative SA series, we will be sharing the beautiful artworks of Leila Fanner with you.

Leila is a painter, illustrator and surface pattern designer who works from her studio in the small town of Riebeek West.

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Similar to Nicole & The Striped Flamingo, the SA creative we shared with you in our previous post, Leila has had her own part in Design Monarchy’s brand evolution. In fact, it is Leila who designed our beautiful company logo in 2012.

Since we first interviewed her four years ago, Leila has placed greater focus on her fine art works – spending much time with paint brush in hand.

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The elements that Rose and I most adore about Leila’s paintings are her bold use of vivid colours in combination with intricate pattern and detail. Her artworks often have a whimsical yet edgy feminine quality with a slight mystical feel.

Leila’s works, while rich in South African flavour, are completely unique. Her striking paintings feature a fresh interpretation on the local imagery and frequently feature South African fauna and flora. Leila also has the rare and remarkable ability to incorporate African elements into her paintings and designs without the usual “Greenmarket Square cheese”.

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Leila will be taking part in the “Summertide” group exhibition this Sunday the 4th of December at The Gallery in Riebeek Kasteel.  Also be sure to check out Leila’s Facebook page as she is currently having a studio sale.

We are also very excited to announce that Leila has gifted us with some of her goreous printed product to dole out as give-away prizes to some of our lucky blog readers. We will be posting all the give-away competition details tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Want to see more of Leila’s gorgeous artwork? Pop over to her website. Our international friends can purchase her prints and products on Society6.

You can also follow Leila Fanner on FacebookInstagramTwitter.

Creative SA: Nicole & The Striped Flamingo

The next South Africa creative that we will be sharing as part of our Creative SA series, hits quite close to home as she has had a personal hand in the creation of our brand and the look and feel of our website.

Nicole Bruigom is a graphic designer and illustrator hailing from sunny Durban.  Have you ever walked the aisles of a Mr. Price Clothing or Home store and wondered who designed the trendy graphics and quirky doodles you see on the product? Well, the chances are good that it might be Nicole, as creating lovelies for Mr. P is her day job.

When Nicole is not designing for the Mr. Price shelves, she sells her freelance design services under the moniker “Nicole & The Striped Flamingo”.  Upon spotting her quirky whimsy illustrations back in 2013 we immediately fell in love with them and interviewed her for the “Interviews & Features” section of The Design Tabloid.

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Not too long for thereafter, while working on the design of our new Design Monarchy website, we were searching for an illustrator to create some custom graphics for certain pages of our website.  We immediately thought of Nicole as both Rose and I enjoyed her style of illustration and use of colour and pattern. We thought it would perfectly complement our logo, branding and identity, which we perceived as feminine and elegant, yet quirky with a slight vintage flair.

We explained to Nicole exactly what we had in mind and she created the most beautiful illustrations for us. The illustrations consisted of a quirky megaphone for our Home page, a pretty typewriter for our Press page, an old school phone for our Contact Us page, a hipster camera for our Portfolio page, and a toolbox and desk illustration to accompany our Company page. She also redesigned our Design Monarchy “Stamp of Approval” to match and compliment our new branding and graphics.

We were absolutely thrilled with the results and feel that Nicole’s illustrations really “made” our website. Since the launch of the website we have had tons of complements and we have found that visitors to our site find the illustrations had to forget! Feel free to pop over to our website to take a look at the illustrations “in situ”, so to speak.

 

As mentioned in our previous interview, Nicole is also an author. She published “Little Chef”, a quirky illustrated children’s recipe book, in 2010 and it has proved so popular that she released a second edition.

You can also adorn the walls of your home with some Striped Flamingo loveliness, as Nicole designed a range of whimsy wallpapers for Robin Sprong that would be perfect for a children’s bedroom or nursery.

Want to see some of Nicole’s designs in the flesh? If you reside in Joburg, you might want to visit Cafe Hemingways in Kyalami as Nicole has done extensive work for them – everything from the gorgeous murals on the wall to the menus and cake toppers – she even designed a range of postcards for them.

Be sure to check out more of Nicole’s gorgeous illustrations on her website

You can also follow Nicole & The Striped Flamingo on Facebook.