Each issue we quiz a South African interior designer about their past as well as the future of their profession. This month we spoke to Anton Jansen van Vuuren of BRANDDNA.
Q What is your background?
I was born on the West Rand, and grew up there. I matriculated from a technical school with a distinction in fit and turning. I wanted to become a mechanical engineer, however, I realised I needed to be in a more creative environment, hence the move to interior design. I have always enjoyed and appreciated beautiful retail interiors and architecture. I studied at Wits Technikon and obtained my N.Dip Interior Design.
I now specialise in 3D visuals and technical documentation. I have 14 years of three dimensional design experience, being primarily involved in the design, presentation, generic documentation and roll-out of architectural retail and corporate design projects. My specialty lies in interpreting design concepts into 3D presentations, documentation and multi-media.
Q What sparked your interest in interior design?
The idea of changing the space we interact with and making a brand a tangible reality. There is so much talk of how important branding is – the proof of this is when it is taken into an environment and people interact with it – it really becomes alive, it’s not just a beautiful logo on a letterhead.
Q What would you say is your signature design style?
I do not have a particular signature design style per say. The brand one works with normally dictates what and where one goes with the design style. Its all about the brand and the brand values, not your own personal style. If I had to choose one, I would say definitely a less fuss approach, more of an understated style.
Q There is the debate about a South Africa style of architecture, but is there a South African style of interior design?
Yes, definitely, as with architecture, there is unique South African flavour to the interiors we see. There are strong influences from Europe and North America, but we South Africans have a very unique way of interpreting the styles. I think the rest of the world can learn from us because the designs produced here are fresh and inspiring. This is especially true in the world of branding, specifically with regard to fuel stations and quick service restaurant design.
Q Describe your ultimate client?
Dare I say one that leaves the budget in your hands? I think the ultimate client would be the one that really understands the value of good design and is prepared to pay for it. I am not only talking about the materials and fittings, design is so much more than that – it affects the way people interact with spaces and products. As designers we shape and influence the world we live in which is something not all clients appreciate.
Q What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on implementing a new European specification for one of the leading car manufacturers – it is very challenging, especially in our current economical situation.
Q How would you rate the standard of education in the field?
I think we have come a long way, just go to the exhibitions of some of the leading tertiary institutions. However, I still think that in terms of interior design there is still the stigma of being classified as a decorator.
Q Can you name one trend which you think is worth keeping an eye on?
There are a couple I would say, the two that really resonates with me are: self sustaining buildings and the integration of graphic design and interior design. There is a tremendous amount of research and development in sustainable architecture and of new materials at the moment. For example, the newly completed California Academy of Science. Very exciting times. I think interior designers needs to embrace this sort of thinking more wherever possible. The second trend that I really enjoy is where interior design and graphic design are merging, not the typical ‘lifestyle’ poster we are so used to seeing. An example of where beautiful type and graphics form an integral part of the design is the Danish pavilion that housed Círculos de Agua (Circles in the Water), an exhibition about sustainable living and lasting solutions that echoes the World Expo 2008 theme of water and sustainability.
Anton Jansen van Vuuren was one of the recent winners of the DesignMind referral campaign. For more information, visit www.designmind.co.za, a networking and information service that makes it quick and easy for anyone in the built industry to collaborate.
CAPTIONS: interiorprofile1.jpg: The UBA bank in Nigeria, designed by Adrian Whines and rendered by Anton Jansen van Vuuren on 3D Studio Max 8.0.
Interiorprofile2.jpg: An Engen fuel station, designed by Adrian Whines and Anton Jansen van Vuuren.
Interiorprofile3.jpg: KFC, designed by Adrian Whines and rendered by Anton Jansen van Vuuren on 3D Studio Max 8.0.
Interiorprofile4.jpg: No caption