Each month, Leading Architecture puts the spotlight on an industry leader. This month we speak to Mark Rielly of Antoni Associates
Q What is your background?
I was born and grew up in the very small Eastern Cape town of Grahamstown. After school I graduated in architecture from the University of Port Elizabeth.
Q What sparked your interest in architecture and interior design?
I have always been interested in design and architecture. My architectural career began at the Cape Town practice of Douglas Roberts Peter Loebenberg, where I worked on the ‘New Look’ Woolworths stores. This experience provided extensive insight into retail design at a multifaceted level. I joined Stefan Antoni Architects (SAOTA) where I excelled in various architectural projects, one being House Sprecher, which was selected as a finalist in the World Architecture Awards. After working as an architect for a number of years I realised my true passion was interior architecture. During this period I was involved in various restaurant designs which cemented this interest and which evolved to my brief to develop Antoni Associates – a design company specialising in interior architectural design services.
Q What would you say is your signature design style?
Antoni Associates are renowned for creating interiors for high-end residential and retail projects. Our signature style is contemporary design, an expression and reflection to enhance the lifestyle of our clients. Antoni Associates strives to imbue projects with the extraordinary which distinguishes our work from that of our contemporaries. Our interiors are fashioned and inspired by the dynamics of site and context and are infused with poetry of light, landscape and water.
Q There is the debate about a South Africa style of architecture, but is there a South African style of interior design?
Design is global. Contemporary South African design is a fusion of international design with local elements of style. Like our 11 official languages there are a variety of South African styles – the rimpie bench and fire-drum are classic design elements of our diverse culture. Many game lodges and luxury resorts reflect a safari or Pan-African style, ll of which can be described as a South African Style.
Q Describe your ultimate client?
I have been fortunate to work with extraordinary clients who have invested in the most spectacular locations in the world. They are well travelled and versed in first class design and allow Antoni Associates to realise their aspirations in works of exceptional quality. These are my ultimate clients.
Q What are you currently working on?
We are in the process of completing our first luxury hotel project in Dakar, Senegal. We have also been commissioned to design the interiors of two luxury resort hotels in the Seychelles. Residential work includes a number of luxury homes along the Atlantic Seaboard, Gauteng, Namibia, Geneva, Dakar and Moscow.
Q How would you rate the standard of education in the field?
Exceptional. A number of interior design students that have completed their internship at our offices have been appointed as full-time designers. I have in the past been invited as an external examiner for local tertiary education facilities, and have been impressed with the standard of design and presentation of these students.
Q Can you name one trend, which you think, is worth keeping an eye on?
Green technology and sustainable design.