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Featured on the cover of Home Beautiful Australia, Elle Decor Japan and House & Leisure March/April issue
Its not everyday that one has the opportunity to work on a brief calling for the creation of a “wonderland” of a home. Add to this a client with the appreciation and passion for the artistic process, and a talented architectural team whom I had the privilege to work closely with from the design stage onwards. This resulted in a home where the exterior and interior were meticulously crafted together and formed into something extraordinary.
Through the use of outlandish features like the asymmetrical pitched roof, barn-like garage, Tim Burton-style forged metal work and embellished European brickwork all mixed into one, the architecture has a matchless quality to it that can be described as imperfectly perfect, creating a sense of wonder from the outside. Inside, beautiful natural light seeps into the living areas via clerestory windows and the constant change in light throughout the day creates an element of make-believe. Nature is welcomed in through high volume sliding doors connecting both the front courtyard and back garden and a conservatory sits nestled under a crabapple tree off the main living area, creating a focal point. All the decor, except for a handful of pieces, had to be acquired new to perfectly fit the needs of the space. We wanted the newly built home to have an old-soul feel to it - like a regal old gem hidden in a European countryside. This was achieved through the layering of unique interior architectural features, the distinct selection of hard finishes and furniture pieces that defy trends, are comfortable and unpretentious yet stylistically unusual with an emphasis on quality materials that would stand the test of time.
What made this project such a delight to work on was the owner’s enthusiasm to see creativity pushed beyond borders and her sentiment of art also found in a beautifully designed furniture piece that can be used every day.
“Joan was part of the design of the house from an early stage and her creative input was very important in many ways. Her attention to detail and knowledge of spatial planning and layout is evident in every room. Add to this how she really understood and brought the atmosphere of calmness and harmony into the interior with her sense of colour and choice of special pieces of furniture put together with beautiful artwork. Joan is a true artist and made it possible for me to live with and enjoy her work every day in this unique and beautiful surroundings.” Elsa Hertzog (home owner)
Architecture: Wynand Wilsenach Architects; Landscaping: DDS Projects
Photography: Alain Proust & Elsa Young/Frank Features (Copyrighted)
Joan Viljoen Design was appointed to transform the interior of a neurosurgeon’s office suite at Vergelegen Mediclinic, Somerset West. We sought to provide an unique aesthetic solution which also makes provision for a patient’s emotional and physical needs. A noteworthy aspect of the brief was that we could create a visual language via the interior to illustrate subject matter relating to the doctor’s medical field. This was done by making visual reference to brain tractography, a 3D modeling technique in neuroscience used to visually represent nerve tracts. Artist, Christine Goosen, was commissioned to create artwork based on this technology. Her detailed monochrome work was also used to create custom wallpaper for the reception area. To make the space less clinical and abstract, warmer tones of pale pink and flax together with natural materials were introduced, resulting in a more relaxed and inviting interior.
Photography by Sulet Fourie
Cecile Le Roux, a previous client, commissioned me to design an artwork for a specific outdoor area to compliment the existing garden and pool setting of their beautiful Stellenbosch residence. The concept of choice was a withered leaf, hand made of copper wire.
Different colours and thicknesses of copper wire were woven together using various crochet and knitting methods to form the structure of this 1.6 x 2.7m art piece. This undertaking involved 370 hours of meticulous knitting together with the help of 2 other artists.
The idea is that as the artwork gets exposed to the outdoor elements, the copper oxidises causing the colour of the leaf to change continuously as time passes, mimicking the effect of a decaying leaf. What would otherwise be a static piece, at the same time ceaselessly keeps on transforming through time and light conditions giving the withered leaf a continuous beauty to appreciate.
Here follows a short testimonial form Cecile:
“Joan’s creativity continues to amaze me. She thinks out of the box and, more importantly, does not flinch from going where no-one has gone before. Who would have thought that one could knit and crochet in copper wire? But this is what she did, creating a beautiful and unique artwork that will change with time, exactly like the decaying leaf that it represents.”
Thanks to Christine Goosen and Lee Helme for their hours of skillfull knitting.
Joan Viljoen Design was approached by a previous client to revamp the living room area of their house in Somerset-West. The space consists of an entrance hall leading into a large open - plan sitting and dining area. Because of the large floor area and volume of the space, we had to find ways to make the space feel more inviting.
By lowering the suspension lighting, changing a light wall to a dark Earthcote, incorporating more natural elements with new furniture pieces as well as adjusting the layout, the space is now intimate, and welcoming.
The resident Scottish terrier, posing in style in this shoot, waited in eager anticipation for these photos to be released as this project was already completed in 2015.
After the success of the previous NuMiracle Mathematics Labs in the Westgate Mall (Johannesburg) and The Pavilion Mall (Durban), Southgate Mall was the next addition to the Project.
The interior concept had to be re-interpreted as the designated space was too small to fit the Fibonacci inspired curve. The same look and feel in terms of colours, furniture and mathematic-inspired shapes contributes to making this lab part of the NuMiracle family. The 2-dimensional black line graphics and formulas stretch over large wall and ceiling areas and then continue onto the 3-dimensional elements like the desks with their own unique shapes, the rubix storage cabinet, ottomans and pie chart tables. These recurring black lines, tie the interior together and at the same time creates the feeling that Maths is part of the student’s physical world.
The NuMiracle CSI project was awarded a Gold Footprint Award in 2015 under the category Community Relations.
Winner of a Gold Footprint Award
I was approached by Mustard Seed Relationship Marketing, an agency specialising in Shopping Centre advertising, to conceptualise a mathematics lab for one of their clients - Pareto Limited.
The project, called NuMiracle, targets high school students from less privileged communities in an effort to assist them in bettering their mathematics performance in partnership with the Master Maths Program. Pareto Limited provided empty premises in three of their malls (The Pavillion, Westgate and Southgate) with my brief being the design of the needed infrastructure within the designated spaces.
First and foremost the design had to be practical, easily accommodating 12 learners, 2 staff members, a series of computers and a kitchenette area. Secondly, I wanted the design to physically represent the world of mathematics, by adhering to math principles and formulas. The brief guidelines encouraged futuristic design, and the Fibonacci Golden Spiral served as the perfect solution. This well-known mathematical sequence represents a structure, wherein each following number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. The Fibonacci series is a common feature in nature, with the mathematical equation of leaf arrangements in plants, florets in a flower, bracts in a pine cone and even the scales of a pineapple adhering to the same sequence. In the words of Stan Grist: “The Fibonacci numbers are applicable to the growth of every living thing, including a single cell, a grain of wheat, hive of bees, and even all of mankind.”
Lastly I wanted to provide a sheltered space for the learners, effectively blocking them off from the hustle and bustle of the mall and its masses. My design positioned learners around the spiral in such a way that they would face away from each other, and the public, when seated at their computers. The layout also allowed the tutor visibility of all learners from his or her desk space.
Other decor elements repeated the mathematical theme. I designed a giant rubix cube storage cabinet and added pie chart coffee tables (designed by Porky Hefer). These tables allow the pulling out of individual pie segments, adding a nice interactive element to the space for the kids during snack time. Specially designed wallpaper featuring mathematical formulas provided the finishing touches, with the lime corporate colours of Pareto Limited repeated throughout.
The first two NuMiracle laboratories, launched in July and October 2014, had been well received by all parties. The learners loved the space. Senamile from The Pavillion in Durban commented that it felt “really awesome to be here!”
Chelsea Village, in the heart of Somerset-West, is a popular spot for boutique shopping or grabbing a tasty bite to eat. In the centre of the village lies Chelsea Bean (previously called, Chelsea Square), a day-time eatery in an open courtyard. It was to this venue that I was commissioned to revamp the interior space that lacked visual appeal and declining business activity during winter months.
My main objective was to come up with an aesthetic design solution that would make the space warmer in the colder months without sacrificing the pleasant summer outdoor feel that added such a unique feature to the space. The idea of a conservatory came to mind and proved to be the best solution. The area under roof was closed off with big sliding windows and doors that blended in very well with the rest of the architecture. A cosy coffee bar was fitted together with stylish new finishes and custom furniture to further enhance the concept. A fountain that leaked water was transformed into an aromatic indoor garden, making the greenery part of the decor. The outside garden area was reworked to grow own herbs and veggies - further complimenting the philosophy of “farm to table”. Whether the windows are now closed on cold days or open during summer, the outdoor charm and delicious food can now be experienced all year long.
While I was working on a proposal for a Mathematics laboratory, I designed this product. The idea was to create a functional cabinet for the students to store their tog bags, books etc. when entering and exiting the lab, but with a mathematical twist. Inspired by the Rubik’s cube, considered the world’s top-selling puzzle game, the cabinet brings a fun element to the space — a puzzle that can be solved using a mathematical approach.
More about the lab and its interior to follow soon.
If you are interested in ordering this product, just pop me an email and I will send you more information.
Featured in House & Garden Magazine, June 2015 Issue, p 102 & 114.
I was delighted to be contacted by well-known Visser Kapperer de Bruin architects to do a custom design for one of their client’s, Michiel & Cecile le Roux’s new home.
The brief was to design an artwork for the glass panels of a cabinet situated in the open-plan living area. The design had to fit in with the interior finishes, colour scheme and botanical theme of the decor inspired by the surrounding nature. The cabinet, a dual television and drinks corner unit, forms a key feature in the house mainly because of it positioning - it being a focal point as one enters and moves around the main living and entertaining area of the home.
It was important to me that the design was not going to be overbearing in the space but timeless whilst still engaging and appealing to the residents who has a particular taste for Realism. It also had to compliment the extraordinary architecture and interior together with other art pieces in the house and at the same time be relevant to its context which the owners have come to love - the beautiful Stellenbosch surroundings.
The Nastartium flower, “kappertjie” in Afrikaans, is in a sense true to Stellenbosch. Most of the locals are quite familiar with the orange river banks of the Eerste River during the summer months when the “kappertjies” are in full bloom. Although just a humble and common flower usually just passed by, it’s is nothing ordinary when observed up close. I tried to capture this through the work. The large scale of the artwork forces one to stop and take a closer look at what appears to be a gigantic real life “kappertjie” pressed behind the glass of the cabinet - its fragility protected and its noteworthy beauty forever preserved.
Here follows a short testimonial from Cecile le Roux:
“It has been such a pleasure to work with Joan. She took us on a heady adventure as she searched for an idea which would fit our brief to her. Her ideas were fresh and quirky. Her enthusiasm for the project was infectious. The end product, delivered on time, blew us away.”
I was approached to revamp the kitchen of an old Cape Town apartment, with common representations of eighties design. Bright red tiles, dilapidated built-in cupboards, and melamine counters with a peephole-style serving section reaching into the living area.
I removed the walls and built-in cupboards separating the kitchen from the adjacent living space, visually enlarging both rooms. Further changes included the design layout of new cupboards and work tops to fit appliances, new vinyl floors, a kitchen island doubling up as seating area, and the introduction of contemporary finishes.
The finished product resulted in a spacious, and easily accessible kitchen area, introducing ease of flow between rooms. The flat now features beautiful city-views from the foyer and kitchen, and affords the cook in the family the opportunity to be at two places at once without the isolation of an enclosed kitchen.
Recently, I was commissioned to work on a T-shirt series. 4 T-shirts were produced and given as a birthday gift. The theme was around a specific mission to the moon that took place on the person’s date of birth back in 1964.
Reset Fitness is a boutique gym in Stellenbosch with spectacular views, exclusive facilities and great personal trainers. I had the privilege of developing the branding and interior that includes the logo, stationery elements, website and interior elements like customised wall paper. Here are some of the brand imagery I created for them together with photos of the interior. Also have a look at their website for more images of the brand identity etc.
Website copy by Lee Helme
We cruise along on boats on the ocean’s surface, and sit on beaches watching the ocean’s surf meet the land. One cannot help but marvel at the mystery the ocean holds. It’s colours and contours are constantly changing. It can be still and peaceful or loud and fierce. It covers more of the earth’s surface than land. It conceals billions of creatures interacting in ways that we will never fully understand. One cannot build on it. It remains a vast open space perfect for contemplation.
During my recent travels to Vietnam and Thailand, I was captivated by it and here is a small collection of the photos I took trying to capture it.
“Time spent in nature is time spent realizing that you don’t know it all and that you never will.”
This year my latest Lab Range products are available at the Okasie stand at Kamers Vol Geskenke. Kamers is running only till this Saturday, 27 October. It was also noticed by Elle Decoration and features on their blog.
This Vintage Lab range includes a variety of products such as laboratory stands with Erlenmeyer flasks, laboratory bottle collections on wooden trays and laboratory “decanters” with cork tree stoppers to name a few. Stocks are limited as many are one of a kind. Hope to see you there!
Photographs by Berna Coetzee.