Sunday, 16 October 2011


If you love contemporary design (as I do) you will probably be tired of the same old framed prints you see at the traditional decorating shops and professional framing companies.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I do not like prints, I have bought and displayed these in homes before at clients’ requests, there is just something that is more inspiring about original artworks. I find that you can almost always tell the difference between a print and an original, there is just more depth in a genuine artwork and for reasons I cannot explain, they capture and hold your attention much more than a print.

I think many people out there feel that original artwork is just too expensive and therefore they go straight to a supplier of prints and get these framed.

However I am here to tell you that if you look around and keep am eye open at markets, furniture retailers, designer showrooms, even some restaurants and coffee shops display artworks to sell, then you will find something right up your street, whether it is contemporary or traditional that you are after.

Here are some examples of contemporary artworks that I have displayed at the moment. The first one is actually a mass produced oil painting from @ Home. This might not be what everyone has in mind when I say “original” artwork but it is an oil painting (not a print) that has depth due to the thickness of the oil on the canvas. The only draw back here is that each one at the retailer looks identical to the next one, but unless all your friends shop at the same shop as you, you will probably get away with this and no one will know the difference (also this shop is continually changing stock).

The next artwork is a photograph that has been produced onto photo-board. This one does not have depth in terms of paint on canvas, but the colours are so vivid and move across the canvas to create a vibrant and totally original piece. This artwork was purchased from a furniture retailer in Johannesburg.

And finally there is a true original artwork which is a combination of watercolour and oil on the canvas. This one I had commissioned for my daughters bedroom. The artists go by the name AHHA, and they will come to your home and see the room where the artwork is to be hung. They bring with their colour fandeck and choose the colours on site so that the artwork will work in that space. You give them the concept that you have in mind or you can visit their website and get inspiration from their previous works I have used AHHA many times on the various homes and commercial spaces that Jossi Design has designed and decorated and I have been thrilled with the artwork every time.

The best thing about all 3 examples above, they are affordable. If you look around at all the retailers and establishments already mentioned and cannot find something that grabs you consider contacting someone to create the artwork for you as AHHA does, and they are not the only ones out there.

Take it from me, a print might seem to be inexpensive, but by the time you have had it professionally framed it has cost you the same as one of the above mentioned artworks.

All I am saying is don’t go straight for the prints, explore other options and then if you go back to the prints at least you know that you are sure about your purchase.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Consumer Protection Act

The South African Institute of the Interior Design Professions (The IID Professions) held a workshop for its members last week on the Consumer Protect Act and how this affects those in the Interior Design and Decorating Field.

The IID has formed a close relationship with Write Rose-Innes Inc. Attorneys, who have travelled to the various regions and held these workshops for IID Members. Members who attended had the benefit of not only learning more about the Act and how it affects their businesses, but also got to ask some in depth questions and had many of their concerns put to rest.

The CPA seems to have become a word that creates fear in the hearts and minds of all those who run their own business. However the experiences I have had over the past few months with contractors and suppliers has left me disheartened and I can actually see why the CPA has come about. The consumer has put up with so much rubbish service for so long now that I think it has come to a head and the result is the dreaded CPA.
Some examples of the service I have received in our line of work recently on just one project:
1) My client saw a dining room table made of a stainless steel base and a glass top at a show recently in Durban. The client asked me to order this for her from the supplier at the show, but wanted the glass top in a 1600mm diameter top instead of triangular as seen at the show, the supplier agreed and I promptly ordered the table (in writing). Low and behold the table is delivered with a triangular glass top, but the supplier kindly wrote 1600mm diameter in black marker on the glass top. Perhaps he thought by writing it there the client would be fooled into thinking it was round!? Of course I complained, the top was removed by the supplier and a few weeks later a round top was delivered, but this was now a 1500mm diameter top – not the 1600mm diameter I ordered. Of course the client is now loosing patience and somehow this has become my problem (even though I didn’t even attend the show in question). So The 1500mm diameter glass top was removed and a few weeks later (now over a month late) a 1600mm diameter glass top arrives on site with a beveled edge (which I did not order but by this time I could not care that it was beveled), but the top edge of the glass was not polish… you could have cut your finger off on this glass edge it was so sharp. The glass top has now been rejected and another company is making this for us.

2) At the same house (the house is jinxed I tell you… jinxed!) I ordered a chaise with a right hand arm. We ordered the fabric, delivered it to the chaise manufacturer, but when it arrived we saw it was a left hand arm chaise. Of course this was duly returned. The upholsterer agreed to remake the chaise but wanted Jossi Design to pay for the new fabric… But why, we did not make the mistake! Of course we eventually got this concept through to the manufacturer and now a new chaise is being made, and lets hope it arrives with the arm on the right side.

3) Again at the same house… (I kid you not) 2 upholstered bed bases are delivered. They arrive with oil marks all over them, of course I send them back. They arrive again with the one now clean, however the other one is still marked and now has a tear in the fabric. When we complain the supplier collects the bed bases while the client is out, I later get a call from my very confused client to say that they collected the wrong bed base! They took the one that was perfect and left the damaged one behind. We had to wait 3 days for the bed base to be returned (complaining daily) and for the damaged one to be collected. The supplier has since called Jossi Design to complain that they now believe the fabric is inferior. I have tried repeatedly to tell them that not only is the fabric contract upholstery weight but each bed base had fabric for different fabric houses (surely the common denominator here is the supplier and not the fabric). But of course when a supplier wants to be stubborn you can argue till you are blue in the face and they will never admit that it might be a problem on their side. Somehow both fabric houses delivered marked fabric to the supplier, that makes much more sense!
What I want to know is, is there no quality inspection done BEFORE the items are delivered? Does no one take pride in their work today? This is just and example of what we deal with on one project, and I have at least 10 projects going at one time. It is incredibly frustrating.
All I can do is apologies constantly to my clients for things that are out of my control. No matter how well Jossi Design is run, no matter how hard we try to please our customers, it seems we are constantly being let down by our suppliers and contractors.
It is time for a change, perhaps the Consumer Protection Act is the answer, perhaps it is the dreaded monster we all fear. As it is still new and relatively untested, we will just have to wait and see.