Chatting style, design and collabs with Nthabi Taukobong

Interior designer Nthabi Taukobong of Ditau Interiors is curating a Collaborative Roomsets feature, a 'Man Cave', at Design Joburg. She gave us some clues on what to expect from this exiciting collaboration. 

How do you define style?

Style is a particular way, a manner and method of thought. It manifests as a look and self-expression in which a desired lifestyle or display of self is created. 

What are you planning for your Collaborative Roomset for Design Joburg?

My brief was to create a 'Man Cave'. With the brands I’ve teamed up with in mind, I came up with the concept of designing an interior space that is for the 21st-century man. It will appeal to the ever-evolving modern man who works smart and takes great care of his health. This man is in tune with the latest lifestyle enhancing technology but is also wanting a restorative space that he can retreat to to recharge his batteries.

In one sentence describe this space you’re creating for this modern man?

The concept is an Afro-ZEN style healing spa hi-tech and sensory experiences in a relaxed, healing and naturally toned spa environment.

Can you elaborate on the materials and look of the space?

We are using 90% local materials, fabrics and accessories that are earthy and natural, in a contemporary spa setting.

Why should people visit your feature at Design Joburg?   

This is a wonderful opportunity to show how successful collaborations can be in an exhibition environment. A designer is only as good as the suppliers, crafters and manufacturers they work with. There is magic that has been achieved in the designing of this stand and each brand is making a vital contribution to the design language of this feature. This creative collaboration is by far the best I have ever experienced and I am so excited to share it with South Africa.

What specific elements of the feature are you excited about?   

The organic flow of the feature with specialised crafting skills and products we’ve specified have taken what would ordinarily have been a very good scheme and made it even greater. Its design electrified with exceptional attention to detail. I am passionate about modern African design meeting a hi-tech sensory type experience, all juxtaposed against natural and organic elements. This will truly be unmissable.

Can you elaborate on the brands you’ve partnered up with for this feature?

To create this masculine spa environment, I’ve teamed up with the Bead Studio, who are creating beautiful soft furnishings featuring hand embroidery and beadwork. Whilst Castellano Beltrame are supplying passamenterie for our soft furnishings. Dreamweaver are adding to the masculine style with their stunning range of wallpapers. Cutting-edge automation is being provided by Triac with intuitive and interactive technology using Creston and Intellibus Lighting. Umdabu create furniture from organic pieces of timber and will be creating an organic juice bar feature as well as a sculptural centre piece. No spa environment would be complete without greenery so we’ve enlisted Engadini to provide the lush landscaping elements of the feature. Marula Projects are supplying and installing the natural stone wall cladding that will provide both texture and special detailing, whilst Rhino Wood will be creating the floors. Petite Manufacturing are creating an exclusive range of furniture for the Man Cave, whilst Whatnot Fabrics are providing an exquisite range of locally sourced natural fabrics to compliment the holistic-and-relaxed meets modern-technology style of this collaborative feature. Finally, Kohler are showcasing their latest taps and sanitary ware.

What do you think are the essential ingredients for the perfect Man Cave?

Comfort. This is not the office! Rather a space of healing and restoration. Deep and comfortable seating is a must. Also, seating that accommodates a few mates for company when required.

No fuss. Durable materials are important. Whether you walk in with your formal suit or wet gym clothes, this is the environment to just chill and the selection of finishes and materials should allow for a stress-free lifestyle.

Home automation. The true definition of bliss for any Man Cave and the more high-tech yet easy to use the better. See, touch, hear and experience through a good viewing and sound system that’s easy to use… a good sound system with music to heal the soul.

Lighting - Mood lighting is very important, both task lighting and soft dimmable illumination.

Plants – The healing powers of nature are vital to the ultimate spa experience. Together with water and other natural elements they ground the senses.

Refreshment Station - A bar, a tea station or just a fridge with cold drinks should do the trick. Self-sufficiency is essential to facilitate the hide-out goal of the space.

Space – the aim is a minimalistic design with no clutter that facilitates calming and soothing environment. It doesn’t have to be a large room, just keep the ‘stuff’ to a minimum.

Any insights into the must-have styles and trends we should all be checking out? 

The design trend that I am picking up on is back-to-nature. The return to easy living, barefoot luxury and the use of true and honest materials and finishes that remind us of our carbon footprint. The must-have style is a consumer consciousness about where our purchases originate from and of supporting local. We have a responsibility and duty as designers (and consumers) to buy local. Look out for less elaborate interiors, a return to simplicity and well crafted pieces with a more soulful story to tell.


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