In a few days time I’m flying out to South Africa. Just a short break, but of course, I’m always working so I’ll be on the lookout for new and interesting design. It’s been so interesting to watch how South African design has evolved in the last few years, they are ditching the ‘African’ chintzy curio look and developing a style of their own. Sophisticated, elegant, comfortable and inspired by the most incredible landscapes. This new ‘African’ look is certainly something to be celebrated. Nobody else can combine textures and material quite like how they do it in South Africa.
There are only 2 interior design shops that I have found on my travels so far, that I’m happy to say are the best out there, one is Flair, based in Florence and the other is Cecile & Boyd, based in Durban and Cape Town. Cecile & Boyd are trendsetters in their own right and have been designing grand South African homes and Safari lodges for a very long time. I think it’s safe to say that Boyd Ferguson (Creative Director of Cecile & Boyd) has been instrumental in forming and shaping new design trends in South Africa for well over a decade.
Take for example the Singita Lebombo lodge, built in 2001, but recently revamped in July 2016. It takes it’s inspiration from the dramatic landscape that surrounds the lodge. The ethos in this project is all about ‘touching the earth lightly’. A beautiful brief and one has been executed so finely, that the earth and lodge seem to melt into one existence.
Singita Lebombo Lodge is a celebration of cutting-edge design in an African context where everything defers to nature.
As I mentioned earlier about the gorgeous South African design ethos of mixing materials. You can clearly see how Cecile & Boyd has mixed raw natural materials with man made industrial materials in such a chic way at the Singita Lebombo Lodge. Wood, stone, concrete, glass, metal, rattan and canvas have all been used beautifully to create a story that instantly tells you that you’re in Africa, and the best thing to do here is to appreciate it’s magnificent beauty.
The guest suites all with beautiful views have a grey, platinum and nickel palette with different tones of wood being used to warm up the dark tones. This reflects the darkly coloured boulders that surround the lodge, connecting it beautifully to the outside.
Nature-inspired sculptural shapes and patterns in an unfussy palette of calming greys, blondes, and charcoal browns characterise the minimalist interiors. Texture is used throughout the lodge to great effect, including watercolour and smudged inky toned artworks, glazed earthenware, stone-washed linens, and soft, gauzy drapes. Even the wood has been textured, before being bleached blonde or ebonised to a bitter chocolate hue.
Going back to the point I raised in my opening paragraph, South African interior design has come on leaps and bounds and is currently producing design at a really high quality. It just proves that by embracing your own soul, personality and by being inspired by your own land and culture means that you will produce exceptional design. I just wish more designers did that.
I’m looking forward to what I’m going to find in South Africa next week.