Q&A with the show's Creative Directors' Greg Gamble and Philippe van der Merwe of Tonic
We chat to the show’s incoming creative directors, Tonic’s Greg Gamble and Philippe van der Merwe, about local design and their plans for the 2019 show.
You’re ‘renovating’ the show. What are you planning to create?
We believe the niche position for the show is in the Interior Design driven space, creating innovative, exciting spaces that allow visitors to get inspired to see past the high street trends and engage in a more personal and creative design process.
Besides introducing exciting new exhibits and features, we’re also transforming the layout to ensure every inch of the Sandton convention centre offers heaps of design inspiration.
We want to celebrate the very best of South African design and give it the right stage to attract high end users who can really help grow the market.
Tonic launched its first collection at Rooms on View, 20 years ago. What does it mean to be back at the show in your capacity as creative directors, especially at this stage of your career?
The first show we did right at the beginning was hugely instrumental in forming our business, it allowed us to show people the kind of design we wanted to be doing. We learnt early on that it’s sometimes very hard to take clients to a place that’s unfamiliar, and incredibly frustrating when they can’t see it.
These types of shows allow the designers to showcase new ideas, there aren’t the usual restrictions of clients’ needs and briefs. If we can get our exhibitors to really push themselves, then this show really has the potential to be at the forefront of South African design, for us that is a very special place to be.
How has the design scene in Joburg changed in the last two decades?
The shift has been gradual but if one looks at the current design scene compared to 20 years ago it is worlds apart. There’s such a vibrancy now and the design community has become very diverse. With this cultural diversity comes many layers of reference that has spawned a design language very unique to South Africa.
20 years ago South African design was very Eurocentric, now there is a confident South African design identity.
What is the future for design in South Africa?
There is a new generation of designers emerging that are very talented, confident and unashamedly South African. The future of design in Southern Africa is a confidence of being African and being influenced by Africa.
Stay tuned for more from our exhibiting brands as they confirm their spaces for Design Joburg featuring Rooms on View 2019.