Every industry is saturated, with businesses competing fiercely for customers, staff and suppliers.
We assist our clients to attract, develop and maintain loyal customers, staff and suppliers by collaborating with our clients to discover and express their authentic identity through iconic interior and furniture design. Iconic design is unique, innovative, functional, captures the zeitgeist and is memorable. These factors assist our clients to be noticed, loved and remembered.
Rarely do clients come to us with a total project budget in mind. The appraisal process is geared towards establishing what the total project budget should be, and how it would be broken down. Together with the client we create a design brief, assess the site, work out functional requirements and create a notional floorplan. We clarify cost vs quality expectations with our client, and refer to rule-of-thumb square metre interior build rates gleaned from our professional experience. With this information, we calculate a detailed build estimate, a design quote, project management quote, a timeline and a payment schedule. All this information is assembled into an interior design agreement between the client and designer.
Unlike most interior designers, we do not retain design trade discounts, nor mark up build costs. We rather pass these trade discounts onto the client. We would rather be completely transparent with build costs and be on be the same side as our clients, negotiating for the best prices possible. Instead we charge for our estimated time for design and project management at a professional rate for each stage of the project. We also do not increase our design fees if the build costs are higher than estimated at the end of a project as most interior designers do. Our design and project management fee is pre-agreed to and fixed in the appraisal phase. The only additional charges from us would be for disbursements for travel outside of Cape Town. Payments are staged to match project milestones and deliverables throughout the duration of the project.
Good design doesn’t happen out of fresh air, it is informed by deep research into our client’s business, identity, product offering, customers, competition, location and aspirational precedents. We submerge ourselves in our client’s world, looking for insights that can be used to build an appropriate and inspiring design concept, that expresses the deepest essence of our client’s unique identity. We present our research to our client and take careful note of what we both resonate with so that the future design, no matter how innovative or unexpected, still fits comfortably with the client.
This is probably the most intangible, but what we believe to be the most important part of a successful design project. It gives a new creation depth and power. How does it happen? It comes from critical thinking about the research material and the insights gleaned in the process of sharing our research with the client. It’s about combining ideas and inspiration to fit the new context that the project exists within. It’s about imagining ways to practically express the intangible aspects of our client’s identity in novel three-dimensional spaces and objects. Sometimes this happens in the bath, sometimes on the mountain, sometimes in the ocean. Usually it happens while sketching and scribbling in a notebook. It seldom happens answering emails and phone calls.
The design and development process grounds the design concept. We take great pride in 3D modelling the entire project from the building through to the bespoke elements, sourced furniture, finishes and lighting. Whilst 3D modelling is time consuming, there is no better way to test out and refine design concepts, and ensure that everything fits well together. By photo-realistically rendering our 3D models, we are also able to communicate our designs including the finishes and lighting accurately to our clients so that they know exactly what to expect before the interior is built.
Our 25 years of innovative design has given our practice a depth of practical knowledge and experience to be able to collaborate and guide our various skilled consultants, contractors, CNC fabricators, artisans, trades, engineers and furniture manufacturers, in executing both our simple and ground-breaking design features as close to our design intent as possible. We provide appropriate technical drawings, schedules, specifications and documentation. Drawings for various authorities such as Council submissions, Liquor licensing, Health and Safety, Signage, Fire, and Heritage are also developed in collaboration with specialist consultants.
We request and negotiate quotations for the construction, purchasing and installation of the various aspects of the interior, from our extensive network of trustworthy suppliers. We assemble the various quotes into a complete, accurate build cost and a detailed timeline ensuring that the project remains on budget and within the agreed timeframe. Occasionally things will need to be simplified, omitted or redesigned to meet the agreed budget.
The world-class project management software that we use to manage the complete project, from appraisal to handover, really comes into its own in assisting our team to manage the procurement process by helping us keep track of the various drawing submittals, purchase orders, supplier deliveries, supplier invoices, staged supplier payments and customer invoices and payments.
Our dedicated project manager ensures that deadlines and quality standards are met through clear communication and regular factory and site meetings with all suppliers and contractors – all the while keeping our client informed of the progress on a regular basis. It is vital that our project management is effective to ensure that the project is completed successfully and to ensure that our business is also profitable.
Final installation is a potentially nerve-racking process. We minimise this stress by our project manager and designers being fully present to coordinate the deliveries and supervise the installation. A comprehensive snag list of outstanding items and quality issues is compiled and corrected as quickly and as conveniently for the client as possible.
Once snagging is complete and our client is happy, the project is signed off and handed over with relevant maintenance and care instructions. We also make ourselves available for any post-handover changes or additions at our regular hourly rates. We know that we are only as good as our last project, and that most of our future business will come from repeat clients and word of mouth. So, we play fair and do everything we can to keep our clients happy.
Once the dust has settled we employ a professional photographer and sometimes a videographer to shoot the interior and have our content specialist write up a press release and send it out to the local, national and global design media and our own social channels. This content is shared freely with our clients. We also enter our top projects into various design competitions, a couple of which we have won in the past. All this ensures success for ourselves and our clients.