It is no secret – South Africa is brimming with tremendously talented individuals.
From the time that our blog, The Design Tabloid, was conceptualised back in 2010 it has been our desire to create visibility around the creative essence and power to be found in South Africa. We think of it as unearthing hidden gems to show off to the world at large. Instead of lions roaming our African streets, we have a crowd of dynamic and talented creative designers who are able to take their place on the international stage.
We have done that over the past 6 years and will continue to do so because here at Design Monarchy we are #ProudlySA and honoured to count ourselves among the South African creatives.
It is for this very reason that we have decided to introduce a new and regular blog post series to The Design Tabloid. We have found that like with our other regular features, Decorating Dictionary and Decor Quick Tips, a regular topical series not only creates something to look forward to each week, but is also fun and easily digestible.
Each month we will feature a local South African creative, be that an artist, designer, or something altogether different. Our chosen creatives will range from relatively unknown emerging creators to more established designers. We might even throw in one or two local entrepreneurs who have founded successful design-related dynasties and big business brands.
So, keep your eyes peeled for the first instalment of our “Creative SA” blog series and celebrate South African design talent with us. #CreativeSA
When you walk into a retail decorating outlet such as Block & Chisel (in our case Cape Town) or any other shop that sells quality furniture, I have to wonder how many of us stop to appreciate the “behind the scenes” activities that has gone into each piece of furniture on that shop floor.
Generally, we only deal with what we see in front of us and mostly we remain unaware of the journey that some pieces have taken, from conception of the design, through production, to what you see in front of you. I guess shopping for anything rarely requires such awareness, be it a fashion item, household item or anything for that matter. We may well be more appreciative of price points, if we did in fact shop with more awareness.
Today however, I want to share with you via this video of Block & Chisel – what happens behind the scenes in a furniture manufacturing company. Over the course of my long career in this trade, while working for furniture manufacturers, I have often been privileged to spend time on the factory floor. There is a scene in the video of a craftsman running his hands over the wooden piece. It took me right back to my short lived term of working for Pierre Cronje. I recall standing watching him and those craftsmen ply their trade with such tender passion for wood, and the craft. I hope you pick up on the beauty of these craftsman’s applied skills – all respect to those who work their craft behind the scenes.
“Live Life Beautifully” – add something special into your space.
P.S. Just a quick FYI… This is not a sponsored post. In fact none of our posts are sponsored. We share this and others because they add value to our appreciation of interior elements.
This past year we here at Design Monarchy have been very blessed to be featured in not one but five different issues of Home Magazine / Tuis Tydskrif. In fact, when I recently updated the press page on our website, it took me quite some time to add all the latest features, articles and mentions.
I would like to thank every follower and friend for being such amazing cheerleaders (especially the network gals). We have been feeling a bit self-conscious about the frequent shares, LOL. However, your support, comments and likes each time we post a new magazine feature on Instagram or Facebook make us feel a bit less “braggy” and boastful. Ultimately, we love sharing our joy with you.
If you have missed some of the issues or just want a brief recap, feel free to visit the Design Monarchy press page to see a pdf version of each of our magazine features.
As always, we endeavour to keep on designing those jaw-dropping, eye-popping, camera-grabbing, magazine-worthy interiors. Here is to many shares to come! Cheers.
Quick note of indemnity – this is a longer than usual read. Wanna run over to the kettle to make a cuppa quickly? Otherwise – here we go.
The 2016 Decorex Cape Town Expo happened in the beginning of May. To be honest, I have been dragging my feet since then to write my report back on it. However, a survey that I have just completed with feedback to the organizers of the Expo has jerked me out of my state of numbness. I wanted to take my time in this post, allowing what I experienced at the Expo to integrate properly so that I could write this article from a place of sincerity. I don’t really want to give negative feedback or get into that hyper judgemental and critical space. What would that benefit anyone?
So, very briefly, Marica and I were not wildly enthusiastic about attending the Decorex Expo. I guess our experience of it over the past 2 years is what was at the heart of this reluctance. We were however, offered the opportunity to attend as members of the Trade, and I felt we should go have a look-see.
Expectations versus Reality:
A few realisations have subsequently dawned on me. There is no doubt in my mind, that when you go to the exhibition under such a cloud of negative expectation, that is exactly what you get. During the time we walked the Expo, my disappointment just took on larger proportions, so much so that I lost sight of some of the “loveliness” that was actually happening around me. It is all wrapped up in a neat little parcel labelled ‘Expectations & Desires”…
Decorex is NOT Design Indaba:
Expectation/Desire Number 1: Expecting Decorex to be comparable to Design Indaba Expo (sadly that expo died an untimely death in my view). This particular Decorex Expo made it quite apparent to me, that they were two different animals. Decorex seems to have morphed into more of a Lifestyle Expo, while Design Indaba was a very pure design-orientated expo. My earliest and past experiences of Decorex were that of being more interior design & decorating orientated.
Show Me Something New:
Number 2: The desire to see new trends on display, new products that we haven’t encountered before and fresh creative talent showing off their craft… all went unanswered.
Out-Of-The-Box Interiors, Please:
Number 3: A desire to see a greater variation of experienced creative talent and designers, revealing unique interiors – showing how it can be done.
There is more, but I will stop at this point.
Striding out of the CTICC under this cloud of disappointment, I somehow felt that it was my expectations that was the root of my disappointment rather than the Expo itself. I decided to rather turn this around into a more positive take away. Slowly I recounted those exhibition stands that did make an impression on me. Those that remain top of mind are:
Some Decorex 2016 WOW Factors:
Mr. Price Home: Wow, I think that I might well have awarded them for their display. They took the winter theme and ran with it. Included were many contemporary decorative elements, which were set out in such an inspiring, easy to read, replicable way. All very affordable at that. Let’s face it – Mr. P Home’s retail store layouts are anything but inspiring. Functional – yes, but inspiring – no! Guess that is why they took me totally by surprise.
Naturally, because I am a huge fan of colour and Plascon Spaces / Colour Forecast, I was enamoured by their stand. Nothing short of total eye pleasure and delight. They tell the story of trending colours effortlessly.
While on the matter of colour, the other striking colourful display was the 100% Design South Africa preview called Picture Africa at the 100% Textile pavilion. The vibrant African textile designs with its African Pop Culture flavour were stunning. That ticked the “new and fresh” box for me. I hope it gains huge traction so that the visual effects that South Africans designers can produce will spread far and wide.
The other big “wow factor” at the Expo was the incredibly well designed kitchen from The Kitchen Studio. The kitchen was unlike what I have encountered before (possibly, because we have not been into too many kitchen designs of late). Inspirational stuff indeed.
Milestone Kitchens was another in the kitchen genre that stood out. They manufacture compact kitchens, aptly named “Kitchen in a Cupboard“, for small studio spaces. I believe that this company has identified a growing niche market, since apartments are being built smaller and smaller. Plus the price tags were do-able, so you are sure to get a bang for your bucks. Milestone Kitchens even won the “Best Innovative Product” award for their Kitchen in a Cupboard at Cape Town Decorex 2016.
Of course, there were many other exhibitors, but somehow they just did not manage to stand out in the crowd. Ultimately, for me that is the defining factor that makes a difference. There are huge numbers of feet that go through the Expo. It is so crowded in there that sometimes even the well-known designers and producers get lost in the crowd.
Dorothy Van Der Riet was one such. I was so looking forward to seeing this well-known Jozi Interior Designer’s work. It was however too crowded and what I saw did not impress. I was expecting vibrant and unique from her. Maybe I would have been impressed had I been able to move in closer. On the other hand, that defeats the “MAKE A STATEMENT!” objective. FIRST IMPRESSIONS DO COUNT.
Decorex Has a Strong Commercial Vibe:
That said, there are some that stayed top of mind for the wrong reasons. Most of the Man Caves were completely uninspiring, lacked innovation and creative dynamics. It was too commercially driven me thinks. There was also a much bigger than normal art display, but largely it was a commercial for my taste. As a designer, it just does not inspire.
I believe that the public should be exposed to a far larger variety of decorated exhibition stands, less commercial stuff and more design stuff. What about Decorex reeling in some interior designers and decorators to present various contemporary interpretations of a variety of interior styles. Interpretations, which will leave the viewer feeling that the pages of the décor magazines are being experienced in real time.
This year saw the talented Mr. Adriaan Lochner doing just that by showcasing a beautiful blue and white interior scene of what I term “the Condé NastHome Interior Style” – contemporary, yet timeless and classical. It is something he does almost effortlessly and so well. However, Decorex CT has seen that kind of interior before. I want more! I want different! I want edgy and unique.
There is a market out there is filled with a new generation of buyers and clients that needs to be catered for more vigorously. The money power is changing hands as we speak. The baton is being passed over to the 30 something’s. The exhibitions should be an answer to their interior needs.
Cape Town Needs a Trade-geared Design Show:
I feel that unless design and lifestyle exhibitions in Cape Town gets a bit more edgy, we are going to go stale, remain stuck in what is current, instead of being ahead of the game. We lack that edgy Jozi energy and going stale without even knowing it, happens in a blink of an eye for Cape Town. After all, we are known for being chilled – bit to chilled maybe. We have HUGE design talent and amazingly forward-thinking creatives in Cape Town – there is no need for exhibition staleness to set in.
Other than the weak Homemakers Expo, Decorex is basically all that we have left in C.T. in terms of design and lifestyle exhibitions. We have to remember that expos act as a vibrant point of reference to the buying public. We need less same ole, same ole, and more edgy, vibey and entertaining interiors scenes.
So, by all accounts, it seems that I will have to take myself off to Jozi in order to experience something that may come closer to my expectations and desires. I am thinking of doing Inspire Trade Show, as well as Rooms on View.
One of the vloggers I regularly follow starts off a video blog by greeting her audience with this salutation: “Hello all you Shiny Puppies”. I’m thinking – maybe I should also come up with an opening catchphrase for my blog posts. Any suggestions?
I kicked off the year attending a network meeting of note. One of my fellow networkers, Melanie – such a cool gal – was looking at the Home Magazine article of January 2016, in which one of our interior design & decorating projects was featured (this has now become my brag book). Melanie is a Real Estate Consultant and a comment she made is what motivated me to write this article.
Many homes lack “heart”…
She said that what she loved about the interiors of the featured house was the fact that one could see it was full of “heart”. She went on to tell me that since she deals with many upmarket houses, she has seen many interiors. What strikes her is the fact that most of the houses have all the interior finishes you can want for, but no heart. Nothing that particularly warms the cockles of one’s heart. Nothing that stands out as being unique to the occupants of the home. By “interior finishes” she meant that the house has the granite kitchen top, the right tiles, the fairly updated kitchen, good furniture etc, but that is where it ends it seems. Pretty much what fellow blogger, Lelanie Slater, once coined as being a “showroom type interior”.
I so get what she is saying. I too have seen so many houses like that. It remains a house that people occupy but not a home. The interior décor lends no expression – no heart or warmth. Nor does it reflect the personality of the folk who live there. Such a great pity, because that is not what a home is meant to be. We at the Design Monarchy, fulfil the desire of our own hearts, by helping our clients find expression of who they are in their home, in a heartfelt way. We do this by way of their interior decorations! It is actually a very powerful process and loads of fun.
Does your personality find expression in your home?
I often wonder why it is that so many people are unable to connect with their home as a heart space. Why it is that this disconnect even exists? It’s almost unthinkable for me in my world. But it is there and I feel I would like to explore this in a few blog posts to come. Why the superficial interior space? I am going to rope Marica in to share her views as well.
Maybe some feedback from our readers can help me here. Are you able to suggest why so many folk have a heart disconnect to their home interior space? Is it money? Is it fear of finding expression? Can you help me here?
Earlier this month we wrote a blog post, “2015: A Winning Year for Design Monarchy“, about all the exciting projects and experiences we had last year. As mentioned in the post, one of the absolute high points was that Home Magazine / Tuis Tydskrif featured one of our interior design projects, the home of our client Sharon Turner, in the their January issue. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilling it is to see one’s hard work on the cover of a glossy magazine!
Well, call us doubly blessed, because shortly thereafter Home / Tuis once again asked if they could feature another one of our projects. What makes this home extra special and personal is that our client, Michelle Ward, happens to be Rose’s sister! It was such fun working with Michelle. Since we know her so well it was that much easier to put together the perfect interior proposal for her home that catered to her tastes. Michelle wanted bright and happy, colourful and quirky, with just the slightest dash of glamour.
One of my favourite elements in Michelle’s home is the gorgeous hand-painted Moroccan tiles we sourced for the scullery. I can remember spending a good couple of hours in Moroccan Warehouse in Cape Town bent over stacks of tiles to find the perfect tile repeat. Rose also found the cutest potted plants at Typo which along with the Moroccan tiles made for one trendy scullery.
Another feature I loved was the Mid-Century inspired easy chair we had custom made for the living room. It featured the most beautiful, bold, big floral fabric we sourced at Home Fabrics. It is so happy and colourful – a true reflection of the overall interior.
Michelle found a vintage multi-drawer storage unit for her study which Rose and I took one look at and said: “Let’s paint it ombre!” The carcass we painted white and the drawers in graduating shades of yellow. It looks smashing against the quirky white and black polka dot wallpaper in the study.
Be sure to pick up a copy of the April issue of Tuis or Home Magazine see the full feature and beautiful images (page 16-23). Let us know what you think!