Afroscapes rule

11 August 2011 - 02:26 By Times LIVE

The emphasis on a modern Afropolitan style was particularly strong at the Beauty and the Basics themed at Decorex, for which leaders in South African interior design were commissioned to create inspirational roomscapes and concept stands.

Designers and design enthusiasts rallied from around the country to support the Decorex exhibition and to be inspired by local trends. There was much to take in: 10 special shows and trend installations, more than 700 exhibitors, five halls with newly unveiled products, nine restaurants designed exclusively for the show and three "how-to" theatres featuring 75 special interest talks and demonstrations.

''The African style that is emerging coincides with the global backlash against conspicuous consumerism, the desire for objects with soul and provenance, and a life of integrity and worth," said Cathy O'Clery, journalist, interiors expert and core member of Laurence Brick Creative Direction.

''Since the debut of Decorex Joburg in 1994, the show has been on a crusade for home-grown design," said Melanie Robinson, portfolio director of Decorex.

''It is apt that in our 18th year we celebrated not only the show's own growth, but also the design revival of Johannesburg and the extraordinary creative energy of our local talent.

"The reveal of the new annual Plascon Colour Forecast and cutting-edge colour-trend stands have always been the most highly anticipated show feature and this year was no exception.

"The high calibre of designers selected to interpret the four themes helped to ensure a show-stopping colour experience."

Zander van Niekerk and Georg van Gass of Goet Furniture and Design interpreted the ''origins" theme.

''It's all about using the natural with the new", they said.

Jaques Coetzee and Dimitrije Djukic from A Point+ interpreted the ''memory" theme, saying: ''A coat of paint is not brain surgery - change it as often as you like." Brick interpreted the "expressions' theme with this advice: ''Don't be scared of dark colours - they create intimacy and sexiness."

Philippe van der Merwe and Greg Gamble from Tonic Design worked with the "mystery" colour palette.

''We were thrilled to unite a wonderful line-up of designers and fabric houses on a mission to prove once and for all there's nothing cliched about an African aesthetic," said Robinson.

"Neutral interiors now pop with wild, crazy and jubilant spots of colour, whether it is a funky upholstered chair, wallpaper on an accent wall or a patchwork-covered sofa."

Decorex highlights included:

  • New Look Africa: the team of Laurence Brick Creative Direction launched its visionary fabrics and trends installation "New Look Africa" at the show.
  • Wallpaper Trends Installation: the best fabric companies rolled out their latest wallpaper ranges in a unique gallery setting.
  • Gabi Gabi 2011: The iconic shweshwe fabric was in the limelight at Gabi Gabi 2011, a new addition to the South African Handmade Collection.
  • The Plascon Colour Forecast 2012 showed a luscious line-up of juicy reds and rich plums, jockeying for position on the red carpet alongside lime moss, Black Beard, mysterious hues and muted blues.
  • Just Unwrapped: Showcased the hottest new products.

Another highlight for many visitors was arriving by Gautrain at Decorex in Midrand from Rosebank. It was the first weekend the train was in use on that route and the experience was a pleasure - particularly as many didn't have to drive around and around Gallagher Estate looking for parking.

  • The exhibition ended on Tuesday