5 minutes with Andrea Kleinloog

Creative Director of Design Joburg, and co-owner of Anatomy Design and HK Studio

How do you fit into the Design Joburg team?

My title is Creative Director, but a better way of describing my role might be, ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. 

What is your overall vision for the show?

My goal for this project is to work together with the team to create a new platform – one that will be led by the industry and be exciting (and financially viable) for both exhibitors and visitors. Together with my business partner and co-Creative Director, Megan Hesse, we want Design Joburg to change the way the design industry and the public see shows. It should be fun to visit, while highlighting the remarkable developments going on in the industry.

Why do you think you were asked to take on this role?

Because I wouldn’t do it unless we changed the mould. The team has really welcomed and tried to understand why it is so important for us to change things up. I think Megan and I have also been able to bring about a new perspective that captures what both exhibitors and visitors are hungry for. One of the ways we are shaking things up is by making collaboration an integral part of Design Joburg. We will have curated feature exhibits that bring together leading architects and interior designers with top drawer brands, local artisans and suppliers. These unique stands will offer visitors real take-home inspiration, solutions and resources.

Who are you most excited to see rise to the collaboration challenge?

In the curation process, each collaborative team has been given a challenge, and on so many levels, I am looking forward to seeing each of those “projects” come to life. From the larger scale architecture tackled by JVR Architects and Design Workshop, to the detailing that will almost certainly unfold in the project by newcomers Studium Design.

How do you manage to juggle your retail and interior design business with your role as Creative Director of Design Joburg?

The short answer is ‘I don’t’. The long answer is that I get by with the help of our amazing Design Joburg team, including J-P de la Chaumette and the Media 10 powerhouse. I also have the most incredible support system in our Anatomy Design and HK Studio teams. There is no task too big or too small for them, and everybody is committed and caring.

What challenges have popped up so far in compiling the show, and how are you overcoming them?

The most difficult challenge is also the greatest asset – putting together a show the likes of which has never been seen before. The collaborative approach, albeit entirely sensible to me, is very difficult for a lot of people to understand.

What excites you about local design?

We are very lucky to be working in this field in South Africa. We have an inextricable ability to link to manufacturing and production, which has been filtered out in some of the more developed fields.

How do you think Joburg design differs from Cape Town design?

I have always loved this question. I think Joburg is based on industry and production, while Cape Town has a more craftspecific focus.

What local design item are you coveting right now?

The HERR UELER coffee table by Douglas & Company.

What international decorative item are you coveting right now?

Strangely, for someone who works a lot with things, I covet very few. That said, right now, probably Issey Miyake homeware for Iittala.

Wha t’s the first item on your Christmas gift wishlist?

A long, quiet weekend at Babylonstoren.

If you could have a cocktail with any departed designer who would it be and why?

It would probably be Alexander McQueen, mostly because he’s not from the world of furniture or architecture, and I get the sense that conversation with him would not follow some formulaic discourse. I think a glass of full-bodied red wine in a dimly lit room with him would leave me equally intrigued and inspired.

What fabric are you using in your latest interior design project?

We use a lot of Philip Pikus – both for its incredible handle and quality and for the fact that it’s locally manufactured, which is very important to us as a studio.

What are you most looking forward to on the Design Joburg journey?

I think the most intriguing part for me, right now, is how the entire show will come together. From the experience to the product, to the food, I am excited to see all the plans come to life.

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