Friday, 28 March 2014

China February 2014

My recent trip to Guangzhou, China left me with mixed feelings.  I have never really understood how you would save money by travelling to China, paying for accommodation and food and then still having to purchase the furniture, pay the agents fees, as well as all shipping and duty charges.  Surely this would work out to be the more expensive route?

Well it seems that in the past it was possible, but now with the current Rand exchange rate it is proving to be more and more difficult to get the bargains.  I think it was a bit a surprise to all parties concerned when my 2 clients got together and offered to take me with them to China in search of their furniture, curtaining fabrics and accessories for their homes.  What I discovered is that the prices for most of the furniture items were either the same as back home or more expensive.  Sure, there was alot of negotiating taking place and the prices did drop dramatically thereafter, but after factoring in the shipping and duties already mentioned, I am not convinced that there will be much of a saving.  We await the final quotation from the agents to make a decision here.

However I must admit, the quality of most of the furniture items was better than I had expected.  I was not that optomistic about what we might find in China and was therefore pleasantly surprised by the quality of the items that I saw.  Of course you will get what you pay for, so the more expensive items were definitely of better quality.  

We spent most of our time in The Louvre, a multi-storey furniture shopping center in Shunde.  Shunde, however, was an hour's drive from our hotel in Guangzhou and the traffic in China is rather bad.  Our daily drive to The Louvre often took up to 2 hours, which was a terrible waste of time each day when we had so much to source.

Each floor of The Louvre had something new to offer, in general the stores were focused on furniture items such as couches, coffee tables and beds.  But moving onto the higher levels of the shopping center you would find stores dedicated to artworks, some to vases, lamps, obje.  The top levels had the most expensive furniture which was well worth a look, but rather depressing to say the least as the items were totally unaffordable.

The fabric selection was incredibly disappointing.  I am not sure if we were taken to all the wrong places but the designs were rather out of date and my clients left China disappointed in this department.

On the last day I did manage to get away to explore the most amazing Chinese temple.  I spent a good couple of hours here taking in the most detailed architecture I have ever seen.  Every inch of this temple is intricately decorated.  It was the perfect end to my first experience in China.  

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Maison&Objet Paris

In January I had the pleasure of attending Maison&Objet, the massive Interior Design and Decorating exhibition which is held twice a year in Paris.  

I was completely overwhelmed by the scale of the exhibition.  Three days was just not enough to cover all 7 halls which were crammed with Design and Decor concepts and products from around the world.  The wallpapers and fabrics on display made for fantastic viewing.  It was often overwhelming with so many colours, textures, patterns and concepts on display that I found it difficult to spot a real trend.  With such varied suppliers exhibiting, the designs ranged from very conservative to ultra modern and there was truly something for everyone.

The chandeliers and pendants on display were mind blowing, with many of the chandeliers being so large that I could not begin to imagine the scale of the interior space where they could actually be used.

On the accessories side I was very impressed by Amadeus, Korb and Lou de Castellane. Their stand was divided up into different "rooms" and each one felt like I was entering a different world each time.  The stand was simple and understated, however full of little bits and pieces that just worked together to create a unique room each time.  For a stand displaying small objet it was not cluttered but a real visual indulgence which I greatly enjoyed.

The incredibly funky world of Kare Design caught my eye.  Their over-sized stand was a fantastic experience with the most exciting and eccentric furniture concepts that kept me inspired.

The amount of money that gets spent on these stands is incredible.  Those stands that were taken by designers and the larger furniture suppliers were astounding, I would be happy to live in one of those stands with the designer recreating a house with individual rooms.  You would actually enter the stand through "a front door" and walk from the entrance hall through to the dining room, lounge, study and bar area.  The lighting within these spaces was incredible and the amount of space that each stand comprised of was something I have not seen before.

Unfortunately taking photos was forbidden!  But this was an amazing experience which I thoroughly enjoyed and now that I know what it is all about I am looking forward to my next visit.

For more information visit

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Limco Blankets Offices

A few years ago Craig and Jocelyn worked on this client's apartment on the Durban Beach front with fantastic results.  The client therefore approached Jossi Design when they were planning to relocate their offices to an existing warehouse.  This was a huge undertaking as the warehouse was in a rather bad state and as the offices were to be the new Headquarters where the client could meet and entertain their big corporate and retail clients.

But we were up to the task and set about measuring up the existing warehouse and documenting all the plumbing, electrical and sprinkler systems.  

The Reception, Boardroom and showroom were to be the most important visual spaces.  Therefore a 3D feature wall has been used in the reception area as well as glassguard marmoran on the column.  The signage has been placed on the column in stainless steel with a spotlight above for maximum impact.

Glass partitions have been used to define spaces but still visually allow you to see into the next space.  This opens up what would otherwise be a series of enclosed spaces.

Plasterboard ceilings were added to hide the beams and services running along the existing slab.  The lighting was specifically planned to be functional as well as to highlight the products on display in the showroom room and boardroom.

Finally there is the Ceo's office with soft carpeting, dark wooden desk and leather chairs as well as his own bathroom complete with shower.  

The transformation of this space from a warehouse into these modern offices is truely remarkable and the client is able to proudly show off their new Headquarters to their customers.