Q&A with Haldane Martin and design students

As a designer included in the South African universities’ and high school curriculum, Haldane Martin receives interview questions with design students for their assignments. Here are some of the recent Q&A’s for 2017.

What are the objectives of your business ?

As a designer, my goal has always been to create iconic design that stands the test of time. This was true of my earlier furniture work and has evolved as we have taken on commercial interior design projects. On these projects – such as Truth Coffee and Mad Giant – we work towards creating an iconic space that contributes to a place and which can be enjoyed by the public, while also helping our clients’ businesses to succeed and using design to transform their brand identity into a highly conceptual and compelling three-dimensional space. To quote my company profile:

I have taken my sensitivity to identity and skill to manifest this through objects and spaces and applied these to helping innovative businesses deepen their own sense of identity and purpose in the marketplace and express it through interior design.

When my clients join me on this journey and ask themselves the age-old question, “Who are we, and what unique value do we offer the world?” great things happen, the essence is uncovered and new parts are discovered. Through forging unique, expressive spaces, a new icon is born.

As a business, our goal is also to make a profit so that we can keep doing what we love doing, paying our staff, upskilling young designers, and running a functional company. We’re constantly tightening our processes so that we can work more efficiently and cost-effectively while producing the same (if not better) quality result.


What tools did you use to create your Songololo Sofa and Mad Giant interior?

Our main design tools are Rhinoceros 3D modelling software, and Vray rendering software.


What is the design and manufacture process of the business?

You can read all about our interior design process here.

Our furniture design and manufacturing process starts with an idea or a design concept – or even a need. We need a new bar stool, or restaurant dining chair, and would prefer to design something new if the budget allows. All the design happens in-house. We use Rhino software to create the model. We then research different materials and fabric types to find the best finishes. Once we have specced the entire piece of furniture, we send the renderings to our production house who make a prototype for us. There are usually adjustments that need to be made at this point to various aspects of the design, so we keep tweaking until we get it perfect!


What is the marketing strategy of the business?

Photography, copywriting and online marketing are important parts of our marketing strategy. Shooting design work well and in good lighting conditions is really important for showcasing your work – to new clients, media, customers or fans and friends. From there, we do a write up on each new piece or project, highlighting the key concepts and materials. We post this on our website, share with the press to encourage magazine features, and share on social media to make sure all the people who love our work get to see what we’ve been working on. Entering awards is also important – both for us and our clients – as winning an interior design award can be really beneficial to a restaurant or other commercial space as it draws more visitors. And when our clients are happy, we are happy!