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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.

Decorex Cape Town 2017: What to Expect

It is that time of the year again; Decorex Cape Town 2017 is just a stone’s throw away. The lifestyle expo will kick off on Thursday the 27th of April 2017 at the CTICC and conclude on Sunday the 3rd.

If you have been wondering what to expect from this year’s expo here are a few anticipated highlights as suggested by the Decorex team:

Decorex Cape Town 2017

WHAT TO EXPECT AT DECOREX CAPE TOWN 2017…

“In line with the 2017 theme, ‘Make your space your living dream’, visitors to South Africa’s premier décor, design and lifestyle exhibition will be immersed in natural fabrics, revitalising tones and quality products all centred around a vision of reclaiming a space of sanctuary, disconnected from the relentless noise and distraction of the modern world.

Decorex Cape Town

Cape Town, which leads the way in décor excellence nationwide, can expect to see only the highest quality products and décor set to international standard, as well as the country’s most creative designers who will be showcasing the latest trends.

Visitors can interact with the country’s top designers where the latest trends will be accessibly featured in a variety of room settings. The Decorex Designer Spotlight will showcase the work of iconic Cape Town designer Dylan Thomaz while stylish living ideas can be picked up at the Decorex Trend House.

Decorex Cape Town

The Decorex SA Trend House is a project which gives the audience a visual representation of how the 2017 trends can be realised in any living space by creating a home using carefully selected @home furnishings.

Anyone looking for a change in hue can visit the Plascon stand where the highly anticipated 2017 colour forecast will be revealed. And for the latest in international-level kitchen products and appliances, visitors are invited to the Franke Kitchen Trend Project where four local kitchen designers will compete to create the ultimate ‘Simplicity in Design’ kitchen.

Decorex Cape Town

Adding value to the home with insightful décor and gardening tips is the not-to-be-missed Builders DIY Theatre. Leaders in the DIY industry, as well as a number of celebrity speakers, will share advice on home and garden revamping, general improvements and fix-ups with live demonstrations throughout the four-day exhibition.”


Decorex Cape Town

Date: 27 – 30 April 2017

Time: 10am – 6pm daily

Ticket prices: Adults: R95, Pensioners: R85, Children under 12: R20

Venue: Cape Town International Conference Centre


For more information visit www.decorex.co.za

You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram or follow @decorexSA on Twitter

All info and images via Decorex

Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2017 Finalists!

MBOISA 2016

It’s our pleasure to present the much-anticipated Most Beautiful Object in South Africa (MBOISA) 2017 finalists. Featuring a mixed bag of finalists including film, fashion and art, the MBOISA finalists were nominated by ten local celebrity influencers and tastemakers. Beauty is so subjective and sometimes the chosen objects can seem so arbitrary and unconventional. Fortunately, a short video was made of each finalist to better explain why the object has been nominated and what makes it beautiful.

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“Every year Design Indaba invites the public to engage with the question of what constitutes beauty through the MBOISA award. More than just an object of visual delight, MBOISA encourage a wider definition of beauty – one that encapsulates attributes such as social significance, economic impact, usability, sustainability and even humour.” – Design Indaba

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This year the various Most Beautiful Object in South Africa nominations will be exhibited at the Artscape in Cape Town as part of the annual Design Indaba Festival in next month. While Design Indaba Conference and Simulcast-goers can view the exhibition throughout  course of the Festival, the exhibition will be open to the public as part of the Design Indaba Nightscape programme at the Artscape Theatre each day from 1 to 3 March from 17:30, or enjoy a free visit on Saturday 4 March from 10:30 until 16:00.

{The winners will be announced the 3 of March 2017. Go to the Design Indaba website (here) for a full description of each finalist’s design and to VOTE!}

View the 10 Most Beautiful Object in South Africa nominations below:

BUTTERFLY WALL INSTALLATION: by Mark Rautenbach

Taking inspiration from the 19th-century practice of collecting butterflies for display, Mark Rautenbach designed this vast installation using a material that is traditionally thought to be disposable – burnt paper. He wanted to create something that is both delicate (fragile wings suspended by thread) and banal (destructed pieces of paper) in nature.


GQAMA NTYATYAMBO: by Loyiso Mkize

Gqama Ntyatyambo is a painting by fine artist Loyiso Mkize that was spotted by Alinah Seloane on social media. It captivated her instantly as she saw a reflection of her own life in the artwork’s depictions of female stoicism. Various statuesque scenes are portrayed in minute detail around the face of the main subject that represent the various social dynamics that women face in a modern South African context.


INDALO BACKPACK: by Inga Gubeka

Gubeka’s backpack design, ‘Umthwalo’ (meaning ‘baggage’), is simple and detailed. Using basic woodcraft and surface-finishing techniques, he creates wooden backpacks that are ready for the real world of wear and tear. The form consists of a sturdy wooden box as a base, hand-dyed leather straps and a lid mechanism made of wooden bands.


JOE SLOVO WEST COMMUNITY PROJECT: by Kevin Kimwelle

The Joe Slovo West Community Project, a haven for small children on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, was nominated by SA filmmaker Hanneke Schutte. The small school’s design was managed by Kevin Kimwelle, an architect with an affection for alternative building methods and sustainable design. The project was a total renovation of a previous nursery that had become too small to host the growing number of toddlers that relied the nursery on a regular basis. A local non-profit organisation, Love Story, stepped in and drafted the help of a number of architects to revamp the space.


KARIBA TRAILER: by Blue Forest Collective

“Kariba is a film project in the making that originally started as a graphic novel by Cape Town-based Blue Forest Collective. It tells the story of the Zambezi river and the mythical spirit that guides its waters. The plot is driven by the construction of the Kariba dam wall, a barrier that causes disturbance in the natural surroundings where the rules are bent by magic.”


MOROCCAN MAGIC DRESS: by Nandi Mngoma

The Moroccan Magic Dress is the culmination of the collaborative effort between two young South African fashion designers, Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi. Taking inspiration from the architecture of Morocco and the country’s vibrant approach to colour, the fashion duo created a range that would express the ethos of a new Africa.


SCULPTURE FROM LEFA LA NTATE INSTALLATION: by Mohau Modisakeng

In an effort to solidify photographic imagery in material form, South African visual artist Mohau Modisakeng cast his own likeness in resin and bronze. It forms part of a larger travelling exhibition known as Lefa La Ntate. It was the unsettling attention to detail in the artwork that caught the eye of musician Nakhane Toure: the facial texture, expression and life-like form of the bronze figure that moved Toure. As he puts it, ‘I like my beauty to be a little bit more… rough.'”


THE HAWKERS ROCKING CHAIR: by Thebe Magugu

The Hawker’s Rocking Chair is a product of cooperation between fashion designer Thebe Magugu and craftsman Emile Millward. These disparate designers each brought their expertise and sense of style to the creative process – an odd relationship that culminated in the unique rocking chair. Magugu derived inspiration from powerful and distinct women for this project, exploring both masculinity and femininity, quirky textiles and the relationship between metallic textures and hues of green.


THE ROCKPOOL COFFEE TABLE: by Caroline Vieira

The RockPool Table is a natural seawater scene enshrined in ceramics. It is an affinity for the Earth and professional craft that drew Roger Ballen to this design by ceramics-guru Caroline Vieira. Passionate about organic development, Vieira describes the fact that some of the RockPool surfaces broke during creation, resulting in flaws that she would keep as part of their new design as small tables with help from her husband.


THE SANKARA RUG: by Nkuli Mlangeni

“The Sankara Rug by textile designer Nkuli Mlangeni is an expression of southern Africa’s modernity as well as its rich history of craft, according to interior designer Bielle Bellingham. She was drawn to the work of Mlangeni and her artisan team, not only for their high level of weaving skill but also the cultural research and historic imagery that informs Mlangeni’s designs.”

So what do you think, see something you like? Who is going to get your vote?

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