Archives for the month of: July, 2011

Check out what’s up at hoolie-hah the shop.


How cool is this?  Visi online features hoolie-hah the shop today. Yay! Check it out.

Visit and like the article please.

x0 Lorelle

DWA | Design With Africa book coming soon!

DWA | Design With Africa book coming soon!

A book on design solutions emanating from Africa in response to needs and opportunities presented in a developing continent. Based on one-hundred case studies from Africa seen through the lens of DWA’s design ethos, with a consideration for their scale-ability, relevance to developing economies/contexts, responsiveness to emergency/disaster contexts, and global solutions for sustainability …

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DWA has a new web site. Click below to read an opinion piece I wrote for it on a planned design museum for Cape Town.

How to be second-hand Savvy in Heart of the Home, Weekend Argus 2 July 2011.

Lorelle Bell

Decorating on a shoe-string doesn’t have to look Salvation Army – even though Salvation Army-type thrift shops might well be your source for examples of twentieth Century design that can transform the look of your space from so-so second-hand to savvy modern styling.

Design fundi’s are currently trawling the designs of an era that spans the Bauhaus movement through Eames to the Italian designers of the 1970s – an era that offers some of the enduring style images of the past. Their re-discovery, reinvention or reinterpretations add an interesting take on responsible consumption at a time when the credit crunch and climate-change concerns should be high even on a decor agenda. Going for collectables will demonstrate your design cred with your personal triple bottom-line of cost, green and uber-cool.  

And you’ll be in good company. Twentieth century design has become the go-to era for domestic design inspiration; from architecture to furniture to homeware.You don’t have to look far to find their direct references in the work of popular young local designers. Heath Nash’s fabulous flowerball lights seem to take their design cues from George Nelson’s 1947 Bubble Lamp, a mid-century classic and Holger Strom’s 1972 IQ hanging light.

Furniture designer Haldane Martin’s chairs and sofas are quite close facsimiles of modernist pieces. His hide-covered Simplicity Chaise Longue, for example, bears a striking resemblance to Poul Kjærholm’s 1965 PK24™ chaise longue, while Cini Boeri’s 1971 Serpentone Sofa seems to have been the inspiration for Haldane’s Songololo couch and his Zulu Mama chair reminds one of 1960s Scandinavian wicker chairs.The Zenkaya prefab house, often punted as South Africa’s answer to modular living, derives much from Mies Van De Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House. Even Y.Tsai’s award-winning stacking bed has an antecedent in the Rolf Heide’s 1967 modular stacking bed.

So what makes this period such an inspirational one for contemporary designers? And why should we care? As Kirsty Machen of online vintage shop Minttheshop, a showcase of smaller items of twentieth century design, says, this era reflects “a time when everything was designed with thought, consideration and style”. Significantly too, as Kirsty points out, products from this era were created “before the concept of built-in obsolescence was incorporated into the modern economy, (and when) attention was paid both to (their) design and durability.”

Luckily for us, original pieces from this era are also still to found. Mid- to high-end antique shops are starting to stock some pristine mid-century finds. Other sources are vintage shops trading in retro, and the best are thrift shops and markets where the products of spring-cleaning and downsizing might land up.

The current local mecca for originals of iconic pieces of the twentieth century would be the recently opened Mid-Century Modern in Woodstock which has taken over from Eddie Sanderson’s Zoom now on Kloofnek road. Here you might see an original Egg Chair designed by Denmark’s Arne Jacobsen in 1958 or a set of Eero Saarinen’s famous Tulip tables and chairs of 1956.  Antique Shop in Wynberg Main Road and Kalk Bay Antiques also stock a good selection. At the latter you’ll find a very knowledgeable owner in Ingrid Aron who, in addition to displaying some gorgeous samples of mid century furniture also has probably the best selection of kitchen and tableware from this period. It’s here you’ll would find a complete selection of British ceramic designer Susie Cooper’s collectable pottery. And it was here that I spotted an example of Finn Antti Nurmesniemi’s enamel coffee pots in the flesh for the first time.

Shops like Vamp in Woodstock and Saks Corner in Observatory also offer an offbeat range of retro and revamped pieces for the eclectic home. Antiques on Kloof remains a long-time favourite for collectables from this era. Owner Bruce Tait can also be found at Milnerton Market where you can find collectables from this era at bargain prices.

 (see Heart of the Home for photographs.)