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Interior Designer’s Feng Shui apartment in Berlin

Berlin based interior designer Line Casselman on design, sustainability and a little bit of Qi.

I found designer Line’s work on Instagram, and it was a little like love at first sight. When I knocked on her door a few days later for an interview, I thought it curious (and awesome!) how easily people welcomed me into their homes. But then Line opened the door, and at meeting her for the first time in person, I felt like we could just as well have been friends forever. Stepping into her beautiful apartment, I simply felt so comfortable and at home. Whether it is Line’s welcoming demeanour and warm energy, her lovely collection of plants or her clever use of Qi, I cannot say. All I know is I did not want to leave and I can’t wait to visit her again. Here is her story:

Tell us a little about Studio Mosbech.

“I started studying psychology and did a bachelor in economics. After that I worked in marketing for a short time but I wasn’t really happy. Finally I realized I wanted to do something more creative. I then did my Master’s degree in Interior Design in Italy. I couldn’t be more happy that I chose this career. It was a path of learning and growing. Now looking back, everything makes totally sense to me. It just took me a couple of different steps to get where I am at the moment. Finally, it all comes together. Now I use all my skills combined in Feng Shui, which is all about the individual human being and it’s environment. This is just perfect for me.”

“With Studio Mosbech I aim to create individual spaces that harmonize with its habitants needs and wishes. On top of that I match it up with the specific rules of Feng Shui. I love bringing joy to people by creating these spaces and turning apartments or houses into individual homes that express the owners’ personality. The same applies to restaurants or shops and their owners.”

Beautiful apartment of Berlin based interior designer
Interior Photography Berlin Interior photography and design

I love the calming energy in your house. How would you describe your style and how do you create such a tranquil mood?

“I’m definitely influenced by my environment and my Danish roots, but I don’t consciously follow trends. I love imperfection and mixing different styles. One style or direction can get very boring in my opinion. Everything I own has a story and some pieces I’ve had for many years from travelling, or handmade by my grandpa in Denmark.”

“I think each home grows with time. Mine for sure did. For me it’s definitely the individual touch that makes a house a home. I love earthy tones, natural materials and greenery which I also mostly use in my projects. This creates my very own personal retreat.”

What does sustainability mean to you and how do you bring it into your design practice?

“We have to realize how our decisions influence our environment. It is important to understand the context between choices and impact. For my work it means to use alternative sustainable products. My goal is to create designs that will last for years rather than following quick trends that will be gone in a minute. There are different levels to sustainability. One is the obvious like using decomposable, recycled or second hand products. The other level has to do with my workflow. I try to keep printing to a minimum by using digital concepts, invoices and contracts for example. But of course there is always room to improve.”

Studio Mosbech
Berlin Photography Interior Designer Line Casselmann

Are there any other brands, companies or designers with a sustainable approach who inspire you or where you draw inspiration from?

“There are so many incredible people out there that want to make our world better. I love to follow dariadaria from Austria. She really knows what she’s talking about when it comes to sustainability. I also really love the design and company values of skagerak.dk – like responsible production and long-lasting designs. Regionally I like johanenlies and their way of reusing old wood and metals. Kiezbett is also really nice. I like the design and that they only use regional wood for their products. I appreciate everyone out there who try to take responsibility and care for our world. This inspires and motivates me to do the same.”

Where do you think the industry could still improve?

“I feel like the furniture industry is adapting to the fashion industry. It is fast-paced in terms of trends. As a result, the quality is not as high as it used to be. I think we should all decrease our consumption of poorly produced products. But there is a lot of development. Recycled materials and totally new sustainable materials are playing a much bigger roll now. Nikolaj Thrane for example, introduced furniture that were made out of sea grass at this years Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. Other brands built chairs out of recycled plastic from broken fisher nets. There are many alternatives coming up. So I hope the big players will take responsibility and jump on the environmental bandwagon.”

Beautiful baclcony of interior designer in Berlin

Your house is filled with beautiful plants. Do you make use of plants in your work for clients as well? What role would you say they play in creating atmospheric spaces?

“Thank you! I love plants! Ha ha ha. Again it depends on their individual desires. Every human being is individual and for my job it is important to take that into account. I know that not everyone likes to take care of plants. For me, plants bring life to a place and make it cosy. Not to mention that some plants improve the air you are breathing. Other plants use your air, so in Feng Shui you wouldn’t really place plants in your bedroom. That is where I make an exception. I just have too many! Ha ha ha. (But I definitely chose the ones with positive impact for the bedroom.)” 

Do you have a favourite species?

“I love the different varieties of calatheas because of their pattern and colours. The leaves are alive and are closing for sleeping at night. You can really see them breathe! How cute is that? I especially have a heart for special plants and nicely coloured leaves.”

Living room of Berlin based interior designer Livingroom details
Apartment of Berlin based interior designer Line Casselman

Tell us about all the wonderful old things in your home – what’s the story behind them all?

“Our families pre loved most of the things we own. Our kitchen table and cupboard are from my grandparents. It was the first kitchen furniture they had together. And now it’s the first of my boyfriend and mine. I hope it is a good omen for our relationship since they were married for 65 years, ha ha ha. I also own some nice wooden furniture my grandpa in Denmark made himself in his little studio back in the day. I’ve loved the smell of wood ever since I was a little girl watching him work. In general, I love to give old things a new life and home. But beside the fun factor, I think it is necessary to work with what we already have around instead of producing and consuming new stuff.”

Do you use vintage and second hand objects in your work as well? Where do you go to find the best items?

“It depends on my clients’ needs and wishes, but I would always recommend second hand and vintage before buying new. Especially when I work with smaller budgets it’s compelling to have to explore the secondary market to get similar appealing results. It’s so much fun to get the best out of the budget and hunt down forgotten treasures and bring them to new shine. I really like eBay Kleinanzeigen, fleamarkets and some antique retailers. But Berlin can be a bit tricky sometimes. Prices are quite high so you have to be quick and always have to keep an eye out. But if you go outside Berlin you can still be lucky to get nice stuff. Sometimes it’s even worth it to look on the streets. You can find real treasures”. 

Beautiful tranquil bedroom
Home of interior designer Line Casselman

What inspired you to study Feng Shui? Tell us a little more about the practice.

“Many people consult Feng Shui consultants because they have a problem to solve like a bad night sleep, illness or problems in a relationship. For me it was pure interest. I finished my Master in Interior Design and after some projects I realized it just didn’t feel complete. It felt right to pair my Interior Designs skills with the holistic approach of Feng Shui.”

“Feng Shui can bring harmony to your environment and positively turn the energy around. In a Feng Shui consultation I’ll visit your home and measure the cardinal points. After getting some information such as the birthdates of all the residents and the year of moving in, I can start with my calculation. As Qi (a kind of energy) changes over time, the date you moved in is important to calculate and define the changes of Qi. Afterwards I’ll recommend an interior concept that fits your personal needs. Of course there are many other solutions for individual problems (as I mentioned before) but this would go to deeper into the topic.”

How long did it take and how has it changed your design approach?

“The first course takes around 4-5 months. But it is a lifetime of learning and a process after all. Like Yoga and Qi Gong are working with the energy inside yourself, Feng Shui is working with the energy of your surrounding. Every yogi out there will agree, that there is always more to learn. Taking that into consideration it definitely changed my point of view how to build up design. Where to place furniture is not only an aesthetic question. It also has impact on the human being living there. With Feng Shui I can take actions to bundle energy and lead it in to a positive direction.”

Interior Details Interior design photos Home office of interior designer based in Berlin
Home office of interior designer Line Casselman
Interior details Interior details

Entrepreneurial life can be a tough at times. What would you say is the hardest thing about being your own boss and how do you beat those blues?

“Actually I even love to do my taxes! Ha ha ha. I really appreciate that I can work for myself, and I am very thankful, so I am happy for all the things that come with it. But getting in touch with like-minded people and proactively looking for clients is sometimes hard for me. I am not really the networking person. But I try to overcome myself. It actually is not that hard once you dared.”

Any words of wisdom or mantras you live by? 

“Don’t be afraid of what might happen. Everything that happens will make you grow. Something like that… One of my life lessons is that sooner or later every experience makes sense somehow. Even negative phases in your life will turn out as the most positive growing after time.”

Interior design details
Interior photography Interior photography

Do you think individuals can live more sustainably? Where would you advise we begin?

“I think most of us can do more than we already are. We have to. It is important to always reflect and stay informed. But I also think that we shouldn’t be too perfectionist. If every human being does a little, in total it is a lot. We cannot change from one day to the other. It is a process for which awareness is essential.”

“In short term I would advise to avoid producing too much waste. To begin with always having your own carry bag when shopping. Checking out your weekly market instead of buying plastic wrapped cucumbers. Make your own sparkling water instead of buying it in plastic bottles. If you take coffee to-go, take your own cup.”

“In the long term there are different steps you can take: try sharing vehicles. Use green power providers. In terms of Interiors I would always recommend to check out second hand first before buying new. There are also many sustainable/decomposable household items you can use like sponges made out of agave, wooden toothbrushes, reusable paper-towels made out of bamboo, etc. There are a lot of nice and well-designed stuff out there especially in such a varied city as Berlin.”

“Try to reflect and consume what you really need. It is always a balancing act between self-fulfilment and ecological responsibility. Always keep in mind what makes you really happy. This sounds way to know-it-all but a couple of years ago I didn’t apply these standards myself. As I said, it’s a process and it begins with awareness. There are a lot of easy steps to begin with. I hope we (mankind) will do better in the future.”

What is your favourite thing about Berlin and how does it inspire or influence your creativity?

“There are so many creative and cool people living here. We all grow and inspire each other and there are so many super nice places to discover. But it’s also overwhelming sometimes. Berlin is growing and changing all the time and it’s hard to keep track of. It is always full of humans and it can be very hectic. I am very sensitive which makes it necessary to have a place to calm down in the end of a day. My home helps me retreat. There is room to breathe and dream and to restore my creativity.”  

Whats your favourite spots in Berlin for:

Breakfast or coffee: Two And Two in Pannierstraße, delicious cake and a nice selection of coffee.

Spending a hot summers day: At one of the beautiful lakes Berlin and Brandenburg have to offer.

Spending a cold winters day: At home with candles, tea and self-made cookies.

Finding inspiration: Everywhere.

A night out with friends: Drinking cocktails at Herr Lindemann. They use healing herbs as ingredients. They really have the best.

Interview with interior designer Line Casselman
Interior design photography Kitchen details

For more information about Line and Studio Mosbech, have a look at her website and don’t forget to follow her on Instagram @studiomosbech.

Text & images © Barbara Cilliers

Beauty, functionality and sustainability

Beauty follows function: in search of a beautiful, functional and sustainable soap dish

Ever since I started my “plastic free” journey, I’ve been buying bars of soap instead of liquid lotions. With this ensued my search for functional soap dishes – a seemingly endless undertaking since I could not find one that did not end in a premature demise of mushy soap. My search finally ended when I came across the beautiful soap dishes by OBA studios. A beautiful object that moves beyond the realm of pure aesthetics, thanks to the addition of two paramount elements; function and sustainability.

I met up with the creators of OBA studios to share stories of entrepreneurship, design and creativity. In their sunny kitchen, sitting down under the giant leaves of a beautiful Monstera deliciosa, founders Birgit Ostermeier and Dr. Barbara Jenner told me about their endeavours to make every day objects better and to do it in a way that is good for people as well as the planet.

Tell us a little about OBA Studio. How dit it all start?

Barbara: “It all started in Famalicao, a very small village in Portugal, where we spent a summer together. In the middle of nowhere we decided to start a business together. Our vision wasn’t completely clear at the beginning but we wanted to sell everyday objects that are simply better in terms of function, aesthetics and sustainability. However at that point we didn’t have a clue how to do that.”

Where did the idea for your soap dish originate from and what was your process in going from concept to final product?

Barbara: “At that time I was working a lot with ceramics. I love soaps but had to see them drowning and finally dissolving in their own liquid almost every two weeks. At one point I got tired of watching that misery in my bathroom and tried to come up with something better. The first shape was a very simple zig zag shape, but surprisingly it seemed to work! After firing (in the kiln) I took a photo and send it to Birgit – it wasn’t the perfect shape at the beginning, but it was already working so much better then what I had before. We decided to make it our first product, and started testing and improving it. Six months later we had our first product online.”


How long did it take to bring your product to the market and what were your biggest obstacles?

Barbara: “We decided to start a business during the summer of 2017, but we really started making plans end of 2017 and officially became a GbR in June 2018. From the first idea to the ready to sell product online it took almost a year.”

What I love about the soap dish is that it solves two problems. It’s not only beautiful but effectively keeps your soap from becoming soggy. How do you marry aesthetics with functionality?

Barbara: “We are both very critical observers. And we challenged ourselves to make the very best.”

Birgit: “Both coming from the art scene and having a trained eye for form and beauty is a great help. It is also neccessary to be much better than what is already out there. You find more than 10.000 different soap dishes that are sold online. We fortunately managed to add value not only in design and functionality, but also in regards to a fair and regional production.”


Building a business has its challenges and even though it’s highly rewarding, it’s not always easy. How do you stay positive and motivated?

Barbara: “One thing is probably just to trust that it will work. It’s something you own, even if it doesn’t work out, it’s a mistake you made for yourself and not for others.”

Birgit: “We manage to laugh a lot with each other and that helps me a lot to keep going. But also the success we already have online. We have a good culture of discussion which helped us to develop a company we both love and to keep going step by step.”

“It is something you own, even if it doesn’t work out, it’s a mistake you made for yourself and not for others.”


Going from concept to final product or actioning on an idea and bringing it to life is really tough. What advice can you give someone that has an idea – but isn’t sure where to start in making it a reality?

Barbara: “One huge thing is research, or to simply look at the market and find out if there is already something similar out there. If there is, then it’s interesting to find out why it works or why it doesn’t. For our soap dish we’ve asked a lot of friends to test it and give us feedback, which was very helpful.”


The future of our planet is a hot topic right now and rightfully so. What do you think businesses can do to take positive steps at curbing climate change?

Barbara: “Most of all I think its important to be aware of this topic and to try to find better solutions. For small businesses like ours it’s not easy but we try to keep questioning production processes. Our decision to produce in Germany was based on exactly this topic.”

Birgit: “There are also a lot of aware customers out there, who we take very seriously. The results of the European selection show that a majority cares to prevent climate change. I believe that businesses should take this result very seriously and be motivated to go in the right direction. You can not transform a company into a climate friendly business in one day, but to set yourself the aim to, for example, produce CO2 neutral in 10 years will lead to different management decisions.”


As a company with a sustainability mindset – what would you say are the toughest obstacles to combat. Any ideas on how one can tackle or solve it?

Barbara: “Right now we are struggling with the packaging. It is very thin and doesn’t provide enough protection for shipping. Most of the refunds are shipping damages. Right now we have a bubble plastic cover on top of our cardboard packaging, which isn’t ideal, but we already found a solution and our workshop is on it!”

Birgit: “I think it is important to see the sustainability of a product as an ongoing process. At the moment we can be proud of what we reached in regards of producing with a socially engaged company in Brandenburg and that our product makes soap more durable than common soap dishes. After the packaging we will take a closer look at yet unsolved questions like recycling or things like environmentally friendly stickers.”


What would you say are the characteristics of a good team or business partner and what do you think are important things to consider when choosing an accomplice?

Barbara: “I think it’s good if you can find different skills and interests in a team, and then of course a huge shared interest in the same topic. One of the most important things is trust though, and I’m extremely lucky to have found such an amazing business partner.”

Birgit: “So am I! Besides trust I see humor, persistence and understanding each others needs as important prerequisites for a good business partnership.”


What are your future plans for OBA Studios? Which products can we look forward to seeing?

Barbara: “Currently we are working on different materials for the soap dish such as porcelain, terrazzo and wood. We’ve also started working on other products, one of them is an atmospheric wall light and the other one a self watering planter for all the plant lovers out there who aren’t blessed with a green thumb or simply want to go on vacation without worrying about their plants too much.”

Finally, name 5 of your favourite spots in Berlin for:

Breakfast or coffee: Barbara: “Kaffeebar, Tischendorf or Latodolce.” Birgit: “Kaffee Mitte, Café Krone.”
Spending a hot summers day: Barbara – “At a lake or in Italy.” Birgit – “Favourite Lakes are Liepnitzsee or Schlachtensee.”
Spending a cold winters day: Barbara – “At home or in the sauna.” Birgit – “My perfect choice is the Vabali Berlin.”
Finding inspiration: Barbara – “On instagram and pinterest, books, magazines and museums.” Birgit – “By walking in nature and in restaurants and hotels that are managed with love and perfection.”
A night out with friends: Barbara – “Ideally dancing, but mostly we just end up in a bar” Birgit – “Art openings, fancy restaurants and R&B dancing.”

The soap dishes are produced in Brandenberg, Germany. You can find more details about their products on the OBA studio’s website or buy them through their amazon store. Don’t forget to follow them on instagram to see what they are up to next!

Text & images © Barbara Cilliers

Psssst. Remeber to follow me on instagram to stay up to date with my latest stories and features! 🙂

Interview with Photographer Garick van Staden

Home visit with Garick, Lisa, Jude & Lily

It’s a sunny afternoon in Pretoria. Two Hadedas lazily poke at the lawn, slurping earthworms as I make my way through the gate. I’m at the home of Garick and Lisa, the photography duo behind Emotive Art photographers. Lily with her bright eyes and colourful headband smiles gingerly from her mother’s arms as the couple welcome me into their colourful home. Their little boy Jude, full of stories and questions, excitedly steers me towards the patio table, where a smorgasbord of tapas awaits – a feast before our interview ensues.

INTERVIEW

How did you become a professional photographer? What was the inspiration and driving force behind pursuing a career in photography?

“It started when I moved to Stellenbosch in 1998. I was somehow fascinated with taking abstract photos of anything I could find because I moved in creative circles. Not knowing or being serious about it I kind of put it second as I had to survive to pay my rent working as a waiter at a wine farm during the day and a barman/waiter by night and some weekends doing castings in Cape town for overseas tv commercials on some other odd occasion.”

“I partied hard and never thought of following photography as a career. Until I decided that I need to make more money and moved to London where things got pretty real pretty fast. With no degree behind my name I worked as a blue collar worker and with that famous London weather I got depressed as an artist and needed something to release my state of depression. I remembered my camera and started getting into it again.”

“After 18months of working almost 12 hours a day and every second weekend taking photos in between my travels, I finally decided to return to South Africa. Still struggling to survive I made the big leap to pursue photography. The inspiration came later as I discovered my passion for people and how I work and communicate with people I don’t know.”

“My first paying gig was a wedding by the coast of Cape Agalas (most southern tip of Africa). What inspires me about people is their ability to tell stories and then when I look at the images of those people I get a deeper glimpse of their pain and joy. It stirs my emotions in so many directions that it charges me to capture more.”

At what point did you realise or start to feel that working as a photographer was worth pursuing and that it could be a viable business?

“The moment when I was invited to move to Pretoria to be mentored by another photographer because of the potential they saw in my work. It was the gate/opportunity to my future as photographer. Somehow I knew I had to make the sacrifice to leave the beautiful Cape.”

Was there a point where you almost gave up? Tell us about that – and why you kept going nonetheless.

“There were a few times but my love for what I do has kept my head on my shoulders. Every time I feel like giving up I had to make the decision to look back on how I landed up where I am today. That’s when I stop my groaning be thankful for what is given to me and carry on. Its grace that brought me this far.”


Which story, interaction or series of work are you most proud of or affected you the most?

“Sho! There are so many where do I start. There is the story of the shoe repair guy. His name is JOB.”

“I love to talk and sometimes it can be my downfall – where I fail to listen. I wanted to do a story on Job, who works 6 days of the week to feed a family of 6 kids. I pre-warned him a week before that I will be coming to take photos and hear his story.”

“My approach was non photography at first and a lot of talking. Bombarding the poor man with questions and not giving him the chance to speak. I immediately saw how uncomfortable he was and stopped with the questions, picked up my camera and started taking images.”

“It taught me a lot that day as he prepared a piece of paper beforehand after the photos were taken where he paid for a taxi to get his eldest daughter to translate for me his story he read for me in his mother language. As she translated while he read she got tears in her eyes of how father had suffered many trials telling me how he started as an engineer apprentice loosing his occupation and ended up as a Cobbler. It humbled me tremendously and looking still at the images today reminds me of putting myself second when I photograph souls. It’s not about me, it’s who’s in front me.”


What motivates you in your work and where do you find your inspiration?

“Mostly my own family. When someone phones or emails me to tell us that we have captured them authentically, motivates me and my wife. Having my wife next to me as an artist and photographer is beyond epic! My wife’s ability to write something from nothing and make it sound like I am there inspires me.”

“My children on how they can imagine and play having conversations about small things from their world encourages me to be more creative. As a family we try and do things to keep that creative flame burning. Sometimes we put our favourite tunes on in the kitchen and dance. Other times we paint, play music. It’s important for us to use other creative means to inspire our work and passion for what we do.”

Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him/her. If not, who would you most love to learn from?

“I don’t have a mentor I really follow anymore. People can challenge, humble and teach me so many aspects of creation that I don’t have to look any further than that. If there is a photographer I still want to learn from it would be from Annie Leibowitz. She is a brilliant portrait photographer. What I do admire is her approach to people and the patience she has with them. Creativity cannot be rushed.”

Do you have a photography dream goal? A dream job or scenario that you’d love to shoot? Tell us about that.

“If National Geographic wanted me to cover a story for them of a people group in anyplace of the world that would be grand!”

How would you define your home style or style of your home?

“Mmmh that’s interesting. Most of our pieces are hand me downs and items we picked up at antique or second hand shops. We love to explore places and find gems that we can paint, change and reuse. We have a bit of everything. My wife is mostly the decorator, and she has always been drawn to the Frieda Kahlo/African colours , loved the colours and ways things could be so different but yet all blend in. Our home is quite eclectic. We purchased a place that at the time fitted our budget and so it is a continuous work in progress, there is still many things we would like to do, but it takes time.”


What is your favourite room at home and why?

“Our dinning room table definitely. The house was quite divided with walls and we have broken down the walls downstairs and opened up the space. We love the dining room table. As a family we take a big roll of paper, put it on the dining room table, secure the table with binder clips. We then have a permanent bowl in the middle of the table, with all sorts of colour pencils, markers and crayons in it. While we eat dinner, the kids eat and draw. When friends come visit, we put the phones aside and sit and talk and doodle. The dinning room table is our creative space, our talking space and getting together talking about our day and drawing space. WE LOVE IT!”

What’s your favourite piece (of furniture) at home? Why do you love it so.

“Our art deco chairs. After a long day just sitting you can fall asleep in it or early morning sitting in them drinking coffee and just staring into oblivion. Also the mint green cupboard in the dining room space. It comes all the way from Ladysmith in the Klein Karoo and its a treasured piece that reminds me of my gran and special memories as a child.”


What place do you escape to, a place you like to go to, to recharge or an address that makes you feel good?

“Mmmh, we definitely don’t escape enough. I would have to say Bettys Bay has always been a favourite of my wife and I or the Magoeba’s Kloof forest. When we can’t get there, anywhere near the sea and mountains. The sea is an open space, and you feel like you can just leave your thoughts to float along the coast as you watch the waves. The mountains remind me of how small we are in the world, there is something quite majestic about the mountains, makes me think of the bigness of the Creator…humbling.”

Do you have a philosophy in life, or advice you follow to the T? Let us hear it!

“I am kind philosophical by nature but find myself grounded in reading the Bible. The historical backdrop of then and how things have played out in this day and age fascinates me. Having conversations about topics like “what happens after we die”. Deep stuff I tell you.”

One piece of advice you could give to someone who’d like to be pursue their own dream or business idea:

“Just get up and start! Do! Stop talking and try. Even if you fail at least you started putting thoughts to action.”


What’s your favourite inspirational quote or motto. What does it mean to you?

“Love this quote: ‘The truly wise are humble because they know they have so much to learn.’ – Tim Challies. It keeps me sane in a fallen world. I love true biographies of legends like David Livingston who wrote this: ‘Do not think me mad. It is not to make money that I believe a Christian should live. The noblest thing a man can do, is just humbly to receive, and then go amongst others and give.’ ”

If you could go back in time and meet one famous person, who would you want to meet and why:

“Albert Einstein. He knew something and did not share everything with the world. I want to know what that is. An then take a documentary photo of him.”

What is your favourite destination in or outside of South Africa, and why do you love it?

“Namibia. There is something magical about the dessert and dunes. I have always been drawn to landscapes and Namibia is a true favourite of ours.”


Name 5 of your favourite spots for…

Breakfast or coffee: “On my little porch using my pour over and favourite coffee beans or aroma coffee or vintage coffee.”

Spending a hot summers day: “In the pool…one of my favourite things to do is play ultimate frisbee. I found a frisbee you can play with in the pool, so I enjoy being able to enjoy the sun but in the coolness of the water. A good Gin and tonic too!”

Spending a cold winters day: “In front of a bonfire or fireplace, with guitar tunes and djembe drum beats.”

Finding inspiration: “My wife would say watching theatre, for me chilling with close friends around a bonfire (there is something about fire).”

A night out with friends: “Any place that either makes good sushi or serves craft beer and magnificent coffee afterwards.”


Finally, where can we find your work? Any projects you’re working on that you’d like to share with the readers? We’d love to know.

“I am planning to print some of my private work to help stateless children in our country. We adopted a girl and desperately want to register her but our Department of Home affairs don’t want to because she is abandoned by her mother. Long story short, we found that there are 3.7 m children without homes in South Africa. Some of the money will go to a NGO who deals with helping children to be registered as it is their right to be citizens of a country to have education, healthcare ect. This video explains the issue in detail.”

“You can follow us on Instagram. We have two accounts. One for weddings and the other for our corporates:”

Corporate: The visual motive website or @thevisualmotive

Lifestyle family and weddings: Garick van Staden Emotive Art photographers website & instagram

Interview with Carla Erasmus

Carla Erasmus | Cofounder of Bofred Feature Furniture

The air is warm and prickly as we manoeuvre our rented Hyundai up the steep streets of Cape Town’s city centre. Up ahead, the large flat body of Table Mountain towers like a majestic monument. Behind us, the deep blue water of the atlantic glimmers in the sunlight. It’s a bright and sunny day in Southern Africa, and we’re on our way to meet Carla Erasmus, co founder of Bofred; the feature furniture brand based in Cape Town. Carla has warmly agreed to an interview and invited us to her home, where we’re gingerly greeted by her curious, and oh so photogenic dog, Frankie.

Dog on a couch
Homestory with Carla Erasmus, owner of Bofred

INTERVIEW

How did you get started with Bofred? What was the inspiration and driving force behind starting your own thing?

“Boredom really… I got bored with working really hard for other people and executing their creative visions. I had my own. That gave me confidence to take the leap. I was stuck in a 8-6 job. Underpaid and creatively frustrated. That’s enough to make you be brave enough and start your own thing!”

At what point did you realise or start to feel that Bofred was worth pursuing and that it could be a viable business?

“I still don’t know. We have three years behind us. I work really hard, I give it my all. I’m an early riser and a confident business owner. That must count. I think it’s a viable business because I LOVE my job. I strive for perfection and originality & creative indulgence… We have many opportunities ahead of us that excite me.”

INTERVIEW WITH CARLA ERASMUS
INTERVIEW WITH CARLA ERASMUS

Was there a point in time where you almost gave up? Tell us about that – and why you kept going nonetheless.

“I want to give up when I realise I could make more money… I made a lot more before I had my own company. But money isn’t everything you know… and I am not giving up…”

Which piece that you developed, are you most proud of?

“The Arch Table Lamp. I LOVE it.”

What motivates you in your work or where do you find your inspiration?

“I go to lots of art exhibitions. Im an artist and a photographer – and not strictly a designer. My designs are just sculptural yet practical items for the home. I find most inspiration in art and music.”

Bofred-Homestory-with-Carla-Erasmus
Homestory-with-Carla-Erasmus-from-Bofred-

Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him or her. If not, who would you most love to learn from?

“Oooooh, tough one. I perhaps need a mentor. I read a lot about other small businesses and their success stories – so I absorb what other creatives are doing around me. So I can learn from their mistakes and make insightful decisions in my business.”

How would you define your home style or style of your home?

“It’s lots of found items from travels and heirlooms. Lots of art and photographs and books and textures. I don’t really follow trends – I just buy what I like and I can use in my home. Everything has a story, I know where everything is from, when why and how. Nothing is bought in sets of 8. Nothing matches the drapes. As one evolves – as one should – I let go of things and replace the insignificant purchases.”

Do you have inspiration sources that you apply to styling your home?

“Nope. I get influenced with work research and work and home collide. But I am a huge fan of young London based interior designer, Studio Ashby.”


What is your favourite room at home and why?

“The little corner seat at the front of the house. It’s a built in window seat. Trees being the view and dappled sunlight. Morning coffee / Friday night wine corner / Saturday morning meditation / Sunday lazy reading nook.”

What’s your favourite piece at home? Why do you love it.

“I bought a Staffordshire ceramic dog at a SPCA in Underberg, Kwazulu-Natal, and it’s my favourite possession. It cost nothing, literally I think R20 – but I gave a large donation because I’m an animal activist and it would only be fair. They did not realise the value. I LONG for a pair. My favourite pieces is the ART in my home, it grows and move around in the house… so it’s ever changing and ever pleasing.”

Do you have an architect, artist or an iconic designer who inspires you?

“Jacques Grange! ( interior designer ) & Eileen Grey // Cy Twombly as multi-disciplinary artist & Giacometti. No, too many to name. List is endless.”


What place do you escape to? A place you like to go to, to recharge or an address that makes you feel good?

“I go back “home” where i grew up – Durban – every three months. I visit my parents, my sister and her family. That’s solid quality time. And I can just be.”

“For me to recharge, take me to a secluded cabin, no electricity, no signal, no instagram – no evidence that I existed in that space – a waterfall…. my dog and my husband. Western Cape has endless magical spots such as these that I enjoy with my family and friends.”

Do you have a philosophy of life, or advice you follow religiously?

“Go to bed early. Go to bed with an empty mind. Go to sleep relaxed. Talk to your dog, your partner or read an easy read. Listen to music. Laugh. Get off your phone. And wake up early. Have a coffee, go for a walk, make a healthy breakfast and start work bright and early!”


Name one piece of advice you could give to someone who’d like to be pursue their own dream or business idea:

“Be Brave. Be original and have fun!”

If you could go back in time and meet one famous person, who would you want to meet and why:

“Geogia O Keefe. she had a lot of dogs. We would hang out and paint in her garden.”

What is your favourite destination outside of South Africa, and why do you love it?

“I haven’t travelled enough… but I loved travelling to Sri Lanka for a friends wedding – and we backpacked for three weeks after that…”

Name 5 of your favourite spots in Cape Town for…

Breakfast or coffee: Hemelhuijs.

Spending a hot summers day: In Yzerfontein sipping crisp Chardonnay at my mother in law’s home and taking a quick sunset dip in the freezing Atlantic!

Spending a cold winters day: If it’s raining: At home, with snacks and documentaries. If it’s just cold: Hiking up the mountain and enjoying the views and the fresh air!

Finding inspiration: At an art exhibition – hopefully by myself – on a saturday morning, SMITH or Stevenson Gallery.

A night out with friends: A night IN with friends. Or greek in the courtyard at Marias.

For more info about Bofred and the beautiful furniture they make, take a look at their website and instagram.