• Stairway to style: turn your staircase into a work of art

    Image credit: Chaunté Vaughn
    Inspired by Candis Meredith’s staircase upgrade (above), as seen on Architectural Digest, our latest obsession is stairways with serious style cred.
    When faced with the problem of upgrading a run-down carpeted staircase in the middle of one of her restoration projects, she knew she couldn’t just outright destroy it. ‘We love old houses – to us, nothing is too far gone to save,’ she told AD.
    The rough state of the stairway’s
  • The Afro-Asian jewellery of Michelle Liao

    With 10 years of experience running the Design Indaba conference, Michelle Liao’s creative eye is hardly one to argue with. Originally from Taiwan, the contemporary fine jeweller has been living in South Africa for 27 years, and her local experiences have laid the foundation for an intriguing Afro-Asian design ethos.
    She takes inspiration from her love of the big, bold statements of African adornment and dress, while adding an Eastern simplicity to the mix. Under the label MichL,
  • Cabrón Taco Bar: the all-new Mexican spot in the Mother City

    There are few things quite as comforting as good Mexican food, especially in the chilly winter months – so we’ve been excited about the Mother City’s latest addition to the ever-trendy Bree Street. Cabrón Taco Bar is the perfect place to mix good food and company, while getting your hands dirty with truly mouth-watering tacos and nachos. We spoke to co-owner Jake Weeden about the social culture he’s trying to create here, and why he thinks Mexican food really is th
  • The very rare, very beautiful Chandigarh chair

    My favourite Mid-Century design piece is the Chandigarh chair by Pierre Jeanneret. As they’re no longer in circulation, getting your hands on one of these beauties is no small feat; it’s the type of piece you might snatch up at a high-end auction house. However, if price is a factor for you, you’re better off gazing longingly at one inside a museum. Seen below is the Modernist office of Kourtney Kardashian, photographed by Roger Davies for AD Spain, which bo
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  • 10 artists create playful rugs for R & Company and Amini

    Dana Barnes
    It feels as though new collaborations are announced daily, with companies of all varieties – from furniture manufacturers to stationery suppliers – enlisting the creativity of artists and designers around the world to come up with contemporary, limited-edition ranges. Not all of these are attention-grabbing initiatives, but every now and then, one of them stands out – in particular, New York-based design gallery R & Company’s recent partneri
  • Atang Tshikare collaborates with local weavers

    The latest project by multidisciplinary artist and designer Atang Tshikare sees him collaborating with weavers in Lesotho to revive an old tradition. Since creating fantastical animals for Design Miami 2016, he’s established himself as one of the freshest creative voices on the African continent, and shows no signs of slowing down, either.
    Called Oa Mpona, which means ‘Do you see me?’ in Sesotho, the new, ongoing body of work is a response to
  • An insider’s guide to the Breedekloof Wine Valley

    The Breedenkloof Wine Valley is becoming an increasingly popular attraction for wine-lovers of all varieties, but the region has a lot to offer over and above its extensive wine offerings. With everything from local art to lazy lunch spots, there’s plenty to keep you busy should you choose to journey one hour out of Cape Town for your next weekend escape.
    Enjoy handcrafted sundowners at Stofberg Family VineyardsThe gin culture in South Africa has boomed over the last two years, with
  • So long, pink

    All tiles from Douglas Jones. Fabric samples by Eley Kishimoto for Kirkby Design, available from Romo South Africa.
    Pink got to us in a big way. We’ve seen all shades of what’s been dubbed ‘millennial pink‘ used in fun, adventurous ways over the past few years, and we’ve loved every minute of it. However, as is the cyclical nature of trends, we’ll soon be heading for new colour horizons.
    According to The Guardian, Jane Monnington Boddy, col
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  • 5 contemporary architectural wonders from our Pinterest boards

    When architecture is this beautiful, it feels more like you’re looking at something dreamt up by an artist than a functional building. And these five favourites, curated from our Pinterest boards, are definitely artworks in their own right.
    Nanjing Wangjing ChapelBuilt by AZL architects, this chapel is perfectly reflected in the adjacent Nanjing river in China, and is inspired by three things: the quality of wood, embedded geometries and natural light. The exposed timbe
  • Bridging cultural divides through street art with Okuda

    Image credit: Derek Smith/Flickr
    Take a walk down Albert Road in Woodstock, Cape Town, and you’ll be greeted by an explosion of colour that has been widely hailed as a gorgeous addition to the street art of the Mother City. Created by Spanish mural artist Okuda San Miguel, the giant artwork hugs the black wall outside Side Street Studios in a burst of vibrant geometrics.
    Although he’d initially been in South Africa at the invitation of the City of Gold Urban Art Festival in Joha
  • Getting to know the Blomboy

    At the launch party for House and Leisure‘s June 2017 Design issue, we enlisted the help of Alwijn Burger, aka Blomboy, to create a floral arrangement for the entrance. Since his company came to life in 2013, Burger has specialised in event floristry, creative direction and visual merchandising – often merging the three to come up with show-stopping installations. To get to know this floral artist a little better, we chatted to him about his background,
  • Exploring identity and youth in Nadine Ijewere’s photography

    There is an undeniable creative energy brewing on the African continent. With exploration of different media within this cultural context, the past few years have seen an increase in international interest in young African artists, and they’ve risen to the occasion.
    Nadine Ijewere is an example of such talent. Indeed, it’s her eye for capturing unrepresented forms of beauty that saw her hailed as one of the artists to watch by the British Journal of Photography ea
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  • Legendary hotelier Ian Schrager opens next-gen hotel in New York

    Where he goes, others follow: 25 years ago, when hotelier Ian Schrager created the ‘boutique hotel’, he transformed our expectations of what hotels could be. And now he’s aiming to do so again with the launch of a brand-new offering in downtown Manhattan, New York City. Called Public, the hotel is, says Schrager, ‘more than just a place to sleep’ and is centred on the concept of a luxury space that’s designed for everyone.
    ‘I truly believe that everyone
  • Architects of time: iconic buildings paired with luxury watches

    Ever wondered what some of the world’s most iconic buildings would look like as watches? We did, which is why we’ve paired a few of our favourite watches stocked by luxury and lifestyle conglomerate Picot and Moss with their architectural equivalents.
    Burj Al Arab x Bulgari Tubogas
    Left: Tubogas watch by Bulgari | Right: Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, UAE (photo by Travel and Leisure)
    With their similarly shell-like structures and repetitive rectangular shapes that
  • The Guild Group opens GUILD, a flagship design destination in the Silo District

    On Wednesday 14 June 2017, The Guild Group opened their new venue with a bang. The multi-faceted destination includes a concept store, an in-house studio with its own range of furniture and the Southern Guild gallery, showcasing collectible, limited-edition design and art.
    ‘GUILD is a portal to the most inspirational and adventurous world of design, art and lifestyle in Africa,’ says CEO Trevyn McGowan, adding that the space will offer a concept-driven experience, selling bespoke it
  • The environmentally friendly homes of Atelier Koé

    Born from the imagination of 9-year-old Jamie Rowland (son of Richard Rowland, co-founder of Atelier Koé), the word koé refers to a peaceful state of mind where balance exists between man and nature. Atelier Koé strongly believes in this philosophy and specialises in the conception and realisation of resilient and respectful projects.
    Keur LeahWhen self-taught architect and designer Richard Rowland relocated to Africa to live in the Senegalese community of Ngaparou, he found
  • In the round with ceramic artist Lucinda Mudge

    In her first solo show outside of South Africa, ceramic artist Lucinda Mudge presents a new collection of 20 vases inspired by everything from cartoons to pop songs and the Art Deco movement. Mudge’s work captivates the eye with its rich colours and intricate details, yet beneath the glimmering surfaces of her vases lurks a world simmering with paranoia and tension. Made using hand-mixed glazes and stains, and produced over the course of a year, each creation
  • Stylish family living with Andrea Kleinloog of Anatomy Design

    When looking for a new family home, interior designer Andrea Kleinloog wanted something that didn’t need much done to it, making this Parktown North house in Joburg ideal. All that the open-plan kitchen-cum-dining room needed was a fresh coat of paint.
    How do interior designers really live? Forget the curated penthouse apartments of Instagram. If you’re Andrea Kleinloog, partner at Anatomy Design and HK Studio in Joburg, home is with her husband Luke, daughter Beatrix and dogs Meisie
  • Stylish family living with Andrea Kleinloog

    When looking for a new family home, interior designer Andrea Kleinloog wanted something that didn’t need much done to it, making this Parktown North house in Joburg ideal. All that the open-plan kitchen-cum-dining room needed was a fresh coat of paint.
    How do interior designers really live? Forget the curated penthouse apartments of Instagram. If you’re Andrea Kleinloog, partner at Anatomy Design and HK Studio in Joburg, home is with her husband Luke, daughter Beatrix and dogs Meisie
  • 5 of our decor editor’s design faves from our Pinterest boards

    Innovative design comes in many forms, and we love seeing new products and objets that satisfy our aesthetic sensibilities. These five design favourites come from a collection that’s been curated by our decor editor over time – follow us on Pinterest for more inspiration.
    Form Follows Function tableThe second piece in Dutch interior architect Daan Mulder‘s Form Follows Function line, this table is made by laminating multiple layers of wood that are finished
  • 8 colourful buildings around the world

    Forget the neutral tones of minimalist architecture – we’re looking towards punchy, multihued buildings to inject some vibrancy into the dreary winter months ahead. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t tempted to turn our own homes into technicolour dreams, much like Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s candy-coloured facades.
    Image credit: Arch Daily
    Designed as an ode to Panama’s biodiversity, the Biomuseo by renowned architect Frank Ge
  • Top South African designers hard at work on the Seed to Seat project

    Doktor and Misses
    Seed to Seat is a new and exciting collaboration that’s currently taking place between seven of the most prominent and exciting designers in South Africa and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry.
    The designers involved are Andrew Dominic of Andrew Dominic Furniture; James Mudge of James Mudge Furniture Studio; Laurie Wiid van Heerden of Wiid Design; Christoph Karl of Guideline Manufactu
  • A South African retail exhibition opens in Paris

    Exciting news for the local design world: a South African retail exhibition has just launched at the renowned Le BHV/ Marais department store in Paris. The showcase features the wares of almost 40 makers from SA’s design capitals, Johannesburg and Cape Town, including Wiid Design, Simon and Mary, Zana, Yswara and Klomp Ceramics.
    The project was brought to life by Artlogic and This is Cape Town, in collaboration with Le BHV/ Marais, and will run from 14 June to 31 July 2017.
  • Exploring the human face through photography

    From the earliest daguerreotype, the self has been a favoured subject of photographers, and portraits have fascinated us with their attempts to capture beauty, stature or transience. Photography democratised the process of seeing yourself as the concrete result of an artistic vision, and we’re still not tired of the results.
    At the heart of portraiture is the question of identity, and many South African artists turn the lens on others or themselves to unpack troubled histories, explore per
  • Githan Coopoo: the minimalist jewellery designer making a statement

    When Cape Town jeweller Githan Coopoo’s collection of clay earrings and rings were spotted on the runway at designer Rich Mnisi’s South Africa menswear week show, the fashion world took notice, and so did we.
    The 22-year-old creative’s simplistic, sculpted jewellery is all made by hand and the abstract pieces feature elegant organic shapes crafted out of unexpected and innovative materials.Earrings have always been a big deal for Coopoo, but unable to explain his love for them
  • Exploring functional art in the home with renowned sculptor Bruce Little

    Based in Grahamstown, Pangolin Design specialises in creating unique decor and functional art pieces that reflect the heart of contemporary Africa. The company, established by renowned sculptor Bruce Little, employs multi-skilled local craftsmen and designers who are led by Little’s conservation and environmental ethics. We talk to the self-taught entrepreneur about the importance of functional art and how Pangolin Design informs it.
    Tell us more about your company.
  • SA brandies take top honours at New York International Spirits Competition

    ‘I make bold to say that our best wine brandy can compete with the very best foreign types… and does not have to stand back for them at all,’ wrote the legendary South African poet, medical doctor, botanist and amateur chef C Louis Leipoldt (1880–1947) back in the day. And in this area, it seems, not much has changed – South African brandies are still rated among the finest in the world, if the results of the 2017 New York International Spirits Competition are any
  • Toshiko Mori’s Senegalese cultural hub receives a 2017 AIA Award

    Merging architecture with culture, Japanese architect Toshiko Mori constructed his Senegalese hub using local techniques involving compressed earth and bamboo. The facility is located in the remote village of Sinthian and acts as a performance area, gathering space, library and children’s play gym, and provides accommodation for visiting artists. The centre was also designed to foster unity between the 12 local tribes who use it.To stay true to the area’s traditional roots
  • The ultimate guide to two days in Berlin

    It may come as a surprise, but Berlin is a very green city. In-between the graffiti on almost every corner, you’ll find verdant parks, tree-lined avenues and sandy play areas with fantastical jungle gyms. It’s also a child-friendly city, and everyone will be entertained – from busy primary schoolers to cool tweens and moody teens (just make sure your adolescent doesn’t pop into a piercing and tattoo parlour to complete their authentic Berlin look while you’re
  • snow leopard vodka presents a classic martini – with a twist

    Snow Leopard Vodka, which also happened to help sponsor the launch of our #HLDesignIssue at the beginning of the month (see pictures from the night, here), is now available to South Africans seeking an award-winning spirit with depth of flavour and meaning.
    The brand has quite a heroic heritage, having been created after entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephen Sparrow was struck by the plight of the snow leopard, which is threatened by hunting and habitat destruction. He set out to create a pro
  • Pierre Christophe Gam has been dubbed a cultural entrepreneur

    Pierre-Christophe Gam
    Every summer, French-born designer, art director and photographer Pierre-Christophe Gam visited a new African country with his Cameroonian father and Egyptian-Chadian mother, and this multicultural heritage and upbringing shaped his creative repertoire.
    Gam started his career as an interior architect, training at institutes such as École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in France and Central Saint Martins in London, and specialised in art direct
  • 5 geometric-inspired bedrooms from our Pinterest boards

    History shows that trends are cyclical, and what may have been all the rage in the ’80s will re-emerge a few decades later, bringing with it a sense of retro glam. And, as shown by the recent collaborative collection of Eley Kishimoto and Kirkby Design, geometrics are in again.
    Naturally, all trends will get an update so as to suit a more modern style. While geometrics are very ’70s, they are now reappearing in simpler and larger motifs that afford a more refined look than their tra
  • Update your outdoor space with Marlanteak’s new Cala collection by Kettal

    As winter takes its hold across South Africa, the new Cala collection of outdoor furniture – created by Kettal Studio, and available at Marlanteak – has us wishing for warmer climes. With its dramatically curved backrest, the armchair is definitely the showstopper, designed by Doshi Levien and inspired by the iconic Emanuelle Peacock chair. Thanks to their open latticed-rope weave, the chairs feel light and airy – perfect for al fresco summer days
  • Crochet meets design in these 3 artworks

    Knitting and crochet work appear not to be taken very seriously as an art form, but a few creatives across the globe are set to challenge that perception. We take a look at three innovative crochet designs that give this arguably old-fashioned pastime a fun update.
    The Urchins
    Created by Choi+Shine architects with the help of 51 yarnworkers, these giant, crocheted urchinsin Singapore reflect, absorb and retransmit natural light during the day. The 17m structures glow when illuminated at night, a
  • Eley Kishimoto collaborates with Kirkby Design

    Living by the maxim ‘print the world’, London-based print and fashion studio Eley Kishimoto produces work that is simply executed and clear in intention, with a unique flair that eschews passing trends. Since the partnership began in the early ’90s, the brand has gained a strong reputation and has appeared on the world’s catwalks via work with Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.
    Although initially a producer of fashion collections, Eley Kishimoto now d
  • 7 curated Instagram accounts to follow

    What was once a fun way to share selfies and badly lit food snaps has become an opportunity for everyone to have their own personal gallery, used to promote their work, lifestyle, or both. Although it hasn’t quite made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, the term ‘Instagram influencer’ is used widely and is even a viable career these days.
    From foodies and travel junkies to fashion designers and artists, there’s no shortage of talent on Instagram – but
  • Celebrate World Gin Day with this winter-inspired cocktail

    Literary heroes sang the praises of the spirit that’s as revered as it is reviled after a night of indulgence. Novelist Raymond Chandler told us how to mix a real gimlet (basically, just gin and lime juice), and author Ian Fleming taught us to like it shaken, not stirred. For some, swigging the spirit might lead to symptoms of ecstasy, depression, insanity, blackouts and, more commonly, reduce a perfectly rational person to a teary mess.
    Back in 18th-century Britain, gin became known as &
  • Mpho Vackier’s cool yet casual Centurion home

    Vinyl floors lend a warm, homely feel to the house, while many couches and chairs, such as a sofa from @home, encourage the family and guests to relax and get comfortable.A lime-green front door set in charcoal exterior walls makes Mpho and Harald Vackier’s home stand out from the earth-toned houses that surround it in an estate near Irene in Centurion, Gauteng. This bold juxtaposition is characteristic of the double-storey property, which has eclectic design and easygoing family living at
  • What’s for breakfast with Vanessa Dossi

    It’s a weekend morning, you’ve got time to spare and you might have overdone it on the scrambled eggs and toast. For something a little different, food blogger, recipe developer and cook Vanessa Dossi serves up one of her favourite breakfast treats from her childhood days.
    She’s eager to simplify cooking for the time- and skill-strapped, using ingredients we can all pronounce and easy-to-follow recipes. Once a month, you’ll catch Vanessa teaching her guests how to whip u
  • Into the blue

    Previously on Top Shelf, we remembered Miranda Priestly’s famous monologue in The Devil Wears Prada about the importance of cerulean in the fashion industry. Similarly, colormatters.com, a colour psychology website led by colour professor Jill Morton, compiled a list of interesting global patterns that highlight the significance of blue – such as the fact that it is most people’s favourite colour and that 53% of the world’s flags contain blue.
    From navy accent walls
  • The best winter menus for 2017: Cape wine estates

    The first instalment in our series of winter menus focuses on three of our favourite wine-estate restaurants that are warming up the colder months with award-winning wine and food to match.
    TerroirWhile previous years have seen chef Michael Broughton and his team dream up a stand-alone winter menu separate from the à la carte offering, this year the focus is on encouraging both locals and visitors to indulge in the true Terroir experience by offering a taste of the full à la carte
  • Great design is built from the ground up

    A simple way to add depth and interest to a space is by implementing some of these design-forward floor and wall solutions.
    RawHard-wearing and robust with everlasting appeal, natural materials are ideal for high-traffic areas subject to wear and tear. And, with correct maintenance and care, they will age beautifully.
    SophisticatedUsually associated with luxury hotels, these glossy solutions will give your home a high-quality feel. Use individually or layer multiple variations in one room for a
  • The first completed house by Antoni Gaudí opens to the public later this year

    After a major restoration that began in April 2015, Catalan modernist Antoni Gaudí’s first completed house in Barcelona, Spain, will open as a museum later this year. Casa Vicens was erected between 1883 and 1885 as a summer home for real-estate broker/dealer Manel Vicens i Montaner, and features colourful tiles and ornate details. Up until now, it served as a residence after being converted into three apartments in the 1920s and was then a single-family home for almost a century.O
  • Future design icon: Masculo chair

    Design duo Stine Gam and Enrico Fratesi of GamFratesi. Image credit: woont.com
    When we asked co-owner of Créma Design Craig Raeside which iconic design piece would be at the top of his birthday wish list, he said, ‘It would have to be another classic Danish product: the Masculo chair by GamFratesi for Gubi in 2011. This is sure to be a future design classic – Italian quirky design meets Danish minimalism; it is comfortable yet beautiful.’
    We’ll only know in ab
  • Chroma: An Ode to JD Okhai Ojeikere

    Image credit: JD Okhai Ojeikere from 1974
    Over the course of his career, the late Nigerian photographer JD Okhai Ojeikere photographed over 1 000 different Nigerian hairstyles. He explored the culture of African hair braiding, which dates back thousands of years and is often an extensive process that begins in childhood.
    Influenced by social and cultural patterns and historical events, methods and styles of braiding have constantly changed, from being purely decorative to conveying deeper, more
  • this london restaurant interior is a luxe mix of old and new

    The biggest trend in contemporary restaurant interiors over the past few years has often been described as ‘industrial chic’. It works best in buildings that have a bit of a history to them – especially if that history was as a warehouse or similarly hardworking space. This means that parts of the original architecture can be focused upon and exposed to reveal the structure’s past life, adding a sense of heritage and atmosphere to the venue.
    As with many popular design t
  • Discover the secrets and hideaways of Morocco

    As we arrived at Riad Dar Touyir in Marrakesh, beautifully decorated in little mosaic tiles, Houssain welcomed us with freshly brewed mint tea and Arabian biscuits. The next morning, we opted to visit Jardin Majorelle, which was about a 20-minute walk from our Riad just outside the Medina, and arrived there before the masses at 10am.
    Rue Majorelle is filled with small boutique-style shops, tempting visitors with a variety of traditional Moroccan babouche slippers, textiles, crafted le
  • behind-the-scenes with country road

    They say home is where the heart is and as such, your home should be a place that you absolutely adore. This belief is a strong influence on the Country Road homeware design team’s collections. This season they were inspired by the Australian way of life; with natural materials and colours aplenty.
    Here, we go behind the design and meet Bruce, Toby, Jess, Christine and Stevie as they talk us through the inspiration and processes that went into this season’s collection.Bruce Summers:
  • Amanda du Plessis: Evolution Products

    I was born and raised in Pretoria in a gorgeous thatched-roof house filled with colour and texture. I create the Evolution range and homeware products for local and international clients.The thing I like most about my work is discovering nostalgic narratives about South Africa and elsewhere, such as the stories of outsiders who fell in love with our country or the people who came from different backgrounds and professions and were urged to create visual representations of the magic they experie
  • a family home on the Atlantic Seaboard

    A mirrored chinoiserie timber screen creates interest in the living area and reflects a cylinder sidetable and bamboo-look chair from Cécile & Boyd, masses of foliage and a bespoke sofa and ottomans from Wunders.
    When South African fashion designer Craig Port renovated a traditional Bakoven ranch-style house in 2006, he gave architect Don Albert a clear brief: to transform the property into a glamorous bachelor pad designed for a resolutely hedonistic lifestyle. ‘The likelihood

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