The London Design Festival 2015

Hi there,

This week we take a look at an amazing design festival that takes over the streets of London every year.

The London Design Festival is an annual event held in September. It celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world and as the gateway to the international creative community.

The London Design Festival was conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. Building on London’s existing design activity, their concept was to create an annual event that would promote the city’s creativity, drawing in the country’s greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to deliver an unmissable celebration of design.

First staged in 2003, the London Design Festival is one of the world’s most important annual design events. The Festival programme is made up of over 400 events and exhibitions staged by hundreds of partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world.

You can check out more here

Images supplied by: London Design Festival 2015

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African Interior Design

Hi there,

We thought we’d celebrate African inspired interior design this week and take a look at adding a touch of earthy class to your commercial spaces.

Africa is beautiful! With her rolling green hills, sprawling savannahs, multi-cultural people and sheer diversity on every level, it’s hard not to want to incorporate her into design. Africa is known for its exquisite wildlife canvasses, its bold animal textile prints, handmade masks and its beautifully woven baskets. Incorporate these along with textures and fabrics in the style of African artisans to create vignettes throughout the space. Tip: Hanging woven baskets on a wall is a great and easy way to showcase textures from Africa.

Vivid colors combined with earthy tones are the basis of this style. Masks and wooden figures made by local craftsmen can give the space a traditional and even mystical air. The recipe for this decorating style is simple – you should feel the warmth of the sun and sand, but also a wealth of flora, fauna and African heritage.

Other ideas for introducing African style are to use rough and simple wood or wicker furniture with a rough surface finish or animal prints used as artwork pieces or textured wall coverings.

All of these ideas would look absolutely amazing, and give any space a beautifully unique African feel.









100% Design SA Show 2015

Hi there,

Previously we featured the build up to the much anticipated 100% Design South Africa Show 2015. We thought we’d take a look at the outcome and bring you a round up of who the movers, shakers and wave makers were at this year’s show.

Design lovers aplenty turned up to enjoy 100% Design South Africa 2015, which was held alongside Decorex Joburg at Gallagher Convention Centre from 6-10 August 2015. Now in its second year, the curated design showcase again wowed the crowds with the stellar local design talent alongside top international design brands.

There was a diverse collection of curated feature displays that fell under different themes including 100% Colour, 100 Beautiful Things and 100% Upliftment to name a few. Some of the standout designers were Renée Rossouw, Mia Widlake and guest designer Julia Day. The event was supported by Dauphin HumanDesign® Group and The Home Channel.

Have a look at some of the colourful and innovative displays below. You can also visit to feast your eyes on the 100% Design South Africa show highlights of 2015.

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Images supplied by 100% Design South Africa.

Shed a little light

Hi there!

Today’s workplace is a complex and fluid environment, involving a wide range of visual tasks. Companies and their employees can benefit from efficient and effective office lighting to increase productivity and elevate morale. Practically one looks for minimum glare on screens, low luminance contrasts around the workstation and energy cost reductions as just a few of the key requirements. But of course much of the ambience and mood of a space is dictated by the lighting so its psychological effects on both clients and employees must be taken into consideration as well. Your lighting design will also express a lot about the character or personality of your business itself, whether you’re clinical and minimalist or perhaps a little warmer and more welcoming or maybe trendy and artistic. Let’s take a look at some pretty cool and vastly varied commercial lighting designs. Enjoy.






Perk up with Palettes of Spring

Hi there!

With the days getting longer, the weather warmer and the colours brighter, the office is going to need a bit of sprucing up to match. Nobody wants to walk from a fresh spring day into a gloomy office! Besides, a little colour in the office can boost staff morale, encourage productivity and foster a harmonious and cheerful working environment.

So in the interests of a more optimistic office, we’ve put together a few foliage inspired shades of the season. Incorporate them into the office environment in any way you see fit, whether it’s rugs, furniture, wall hangings or fresh flowers. Enjoy.

The Perfect Pastel

Pastel shades just epitomise spring! They offer an ethereal and stylish palette for any interior or exterior space. When pastels are mixed with rich and vibrant tones, they create the perfect floral pairing of any springtime inspired collection. When trying to add a little springtime zest to your office, choose luscious lilacs and vivacious violets complemented with a splash of primary tones, such as a vibrant red or deep leafy green.

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Naturally Neutral

If your going for a sunset or fynbos spring palette, consider earthy browns, golden yellows and tonal creams to really incorporate this springtime floral trend. It’s a subtle and sophisticated look that will still add a brightness and warmth to any office space.

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Bright and Bold

If you’re bursting with the joys of Spring then draw from a bountifully bold palette of springtime exuberance! Think mint greens and lemon yellows, paired with fuchsia pinks and warming oranges to transform the most simple of surroundings into a spring time palette boasting a rich and cheerful utopia of colour. Consider both primary and secondary shades, and mix the two together in order to really enhance the quality of this springtime trend.

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Inspiring office spaces

Hi there!

It’s always exciting to see what the rest of the world is up to in design, architecture and decor. We couldn’t resist sharing this blog we came across – check out these unbelievable office spaces! Thanks to Emlii for this dose of awesome inspiration.

This is our pick from Emlii’s top 20 – we’ve only included 10 of these amazing spaces, but you can click on the link to read the full blog post and see all 20.,-Most-Awesome-and-Inspiring-Offices-To-Work-In

1. Google – London, UK
Google’s new London headquarters offers the best in workplace environment. The 160,000 square foot development features cutting-edge design that offers a decidedly quirky take on the traditional office. Renowned interior designers PENSON were given the task of creating a vibrant workspace and well they did wonders.

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2. White Mountain Office – Stockholm, Sweden
Located 100 feet below the surface of Stockholm, the White Mountain Office – home to a Swedish internet service provider –  has design qualities worthy of a Bond villain’s lair. The space was once used as an anti-atomic shelter, intended to provide an escape from atomic blasts and the resulting fallout. Architects Albert France-Lanord Architects renovated the 4000 square foot space and turned it into one of the most unique office environments in the world.

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3. Selgas Cano Architecture – Madrid, Spain
This inspiring studio of Selgas Cano Architecture located in the woods in Madrid, Spain, serves as an inspiration for all who work there. Half of the office space is underground and the other half has glass ceilings, bringing nature closer to the employees. No matter if you´re inside or outside the view is fantastic.

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4. Pallotta Teamworks – Los Angeles, USA
Clive Wilkinson Architects, who had come up with other creative solutions for warehouse spaces, conceived the idea of using shipping containers and large tents to create “breathing islands” inside the warehouse. These self-contained, airconditioned islands of activity provide space for each department within the company and gives them each an identity. Clive Wilkinson’s design for the office received a design award from the AIA in 2002 for creating a lively work environment in a warehouse with reduced energy usage despite a low construction budget.

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5. Inventionland – Pittsburgh
The offices of Inventionland are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. It’s a 70,000 sq feet facility that is designed with 15 different sets. Sets range from pirate ships, race tracks and faux caves, to red carpet walkways, a castle, or a giant robot. Not only does the space have fun, creative decor, but the facility also has a state-of-the-art sound/video/animation studio and fully-equipped workshops for creating working prototypes of inventions. Instead of being a normal “employee”, Inventionland employees are known as “Creationeers” and get to wear lab coats.

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6. Microsoft – Vienna, Austria
Microsoft’s new office space in Vienna was completed by INNOCAD Architektur. The design combines a number of colorful, fresh, and eye-catching design elements to create what I’d call Microsoft’s most creative office space. This space features a number of themed conference and meeting rooms ranging from a hunting lodge to an ocean. Another popular feature is the plant wall in the reception – which also features an excellent x-ray graphic of a computer.

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7. TBWA Hakuhodo Office – Tokyo, Japan
The TBWA Hakuhodo ad agency wanted their office to communicate something to both its employees and clients: “we think differently”. They teamed up with Klein Dytham Architecture to give form to this message, creating one of the most beautiful, playful and relaxing office environments in the world. Once a bowling alley itself, the office’s building still operates a bowling alley, a golf driving range and other entertainment functions above and below the office. The office itself is just as fun as anything else in the building, a tree and grass-lined environment with warm hardwood floors, indirect lighting and an open space that promotes casual living and community.

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8. JWT – New York, USA
In an effort to keep creative harmonies maximised, this space has no private offices, but instead areas where groups of creative minds can assemble in both large and small numbers. As you can see, the office has a number of bright colors, as well as a ‘storytelling’ theme woven throughout.

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9. Urban Outfitters – Philadelphia, USA
Urban Outfitter’s $100 million dollar offices are housed in four expansive, decommissioned buildings by the Delaware River on the site of a disused Navy Yard. They’ve won several awards for innovation in adaptive design and showcase a clever style that reflects the heritage of the buildings.

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10. Corus Quay – Toronto, Canada
This is one of the largest offices on the list, and by the looks of things, one of the most fun. It’s been labeled Toronto’s smartest building. This building is all about having fun and bringing the entire work force of a company together in one place to create a boost in productivity, helping the company to continue to grow. Bright colours, big TV’s, huge slides, boardroom tables shaped like ice hockey rinks – this building really has it all.



Choosing a colour palette for commercial spaces

Hi there!

Choosing the right colour palette for the flooring in a commercial space is an important decision to get right. Every space is unique and every corporation has a unique vision and brand identity. As such, there are many factors to take into account. In a nutshell, choose the colours that will work with the décor and the brand, also ensuring that your choice works for the overall feeling in the office or building.

When deciding on the colour palette for the floor, here are a few simple guidelines to follow:

1. Consider the corporate/ brand identity

While it might not be necessary to incorporate the company’s brand identity in the choice of flooring colour or style, the flooring must complement the overall décor, which, in all likelihood, will reflect it.

2. Define the colour palette according to the category of colour scheme:

– Do you need to opt for a monotone, or single colour, palette, such as greys or beiges?
– What about a monochromatic palette consisting of a single vibrant colour, eg reds?
– An analogous palette incorporates colours that are adjacent on the colour wheel, eg red, orange and yellow
– A complementary palette is made up of contrasting colours, eg red and green

3. Consider the lighting and size of the space when selecting the flooring colour. Do you need to pick a warm, cool or neutral colour?

– Lighter / neutral colours can be used successfully in big areas
– Brighter colours are usually best reserved for accenting an area

Remember that natural light will change colours and their intensity throughout the day.


100% Design South Africa

100% Design South Africa – having launched in August 2014, 100% Design South Africa is a high-end curated showcase of the most inspirational designs and designers. Set to take place alongside Decorex Joburg each year, 100% Design South Africa is the perfect platform for South African and international furniture, lighting, interiors, fabrics and product design, covering the residential, hospitality and office industries. This year, 100% Design takes place from 6-10 August 2015 at Gallagher Convention Centre, Joburg. To find out more, go to

Be sure to catch us at this year’s show!


Architectural trends: Buildings going green

Hi there!

Did you know that people in developing nations have a keener sense of responsibility towards the earth than those in developed nations?* A look at some of South Africa’s newest corporate headquarters shows that this is the case, for example Upper Grayston E Block in Joburg. This is South Africa’s first green star-rated building; it earned five stars from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA).

This is relevant, as office buildings are one of the bigger contributors to pollution, and guzzle energy and water. Now though, as the ‘green revolution’ gathers momentum, so architecture is evolving in interesting ways to address this. Eco-savvy property owners expect eco-friendly design and construction that will lessen the building’s impact on the environment and it begins with the architect.

Apart from the environmentally sound reasons, going green also has a financial benefit: According to Bruce Kerswill, executive chairman of GBCSA, “Green buildings command a higher rental price and capital value, they have lower running costs, they let better and they retain tenants better.”

Here are some of the green trends we are seeing in South Africa’s architectural world:

• Incorporating materials in the design that will leave the smallest carbon footprint possible, eg glass, sustainable timber
• Efficient use of energy, eg big glass windows that let in natural light and air; solar panels for water heating
• Storm water filtration – the roof and the landscaping have a role to play
• Carpets and paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds


* “Rethinking Consumption: Consumers and the Future of Sustainability” by Janine Erasmus (,

Bespoke designs and solutions

Hi there!

As the worlds of fashion and décor get ever closer, so the terms used in fashion filter into the décor industry too. Bespoke is one such word and it seems to be gaining in popularity.

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘bespoke’ as an adjective, referring to goods, especially clothing, made to order, eg a ‘bespoke suit’. In other words, it’s custom made, made to measure, or specially customised. Definitely not ‘run of the mill’!

Bespoke carpeting

In décor terms, one area that is increasingly getting the bespoke treatment is carpeting. Customers today want décor, furnishing and lighting that is made according to their particular specifications, customised to suit their individual needs and carpeting is no exception. Architects, interior designers and decorators are working closely with customers to give them freedom of choice and a custom carpet tile design is an important area in which to do so – for a brand, it can provide a strong link to the brand identity, allowing for a larger than life brand presence. Furthermore, carpeting is not just easy on the eye, it’s durable, hardwearing and practical. It acts as insulation and absorbs sounds. All of which are vital considerations in the commercial space.

Custom design

Choosing a company with custom design and product development expertise is essential. They will be able to create bespoke design carpet tiles or broadloom carpeting encapsulating your choice. This enables you to emphasise a customer’s brand colours, co-ordinate the flooring with the interior or even communicate a message.

Check out Avance’s Customiser tool, which has been designed to give you creative freedom and the ability to visualise the design of your choice in a variety of room scenarios.

Go to and have some fun!