decor, inspiration

Five minutes with interior designer Fanie van Zyl

Elsa Young



fanie van zyl The interiors of this double-storey house in Atholl, Joburg, draw inspiration from French architect Joseph Dirand and feature South African design and art.

Interiors expert Fanie van Zyl brought his signature touch to the Paris-inspired home featured in House and Leisure's August 2017 issue. Situated in Atholl, Johannesburg, it's a stylish showcase of contemporary art and cutting-edge design. We get to know a little more about the man behind the magic.

How would you describe your style?

Contemporary. I'm inspired by classic modern designers, including Vincent van Duysen, John Pawson, Greg Gamble and Philippe van der Merwe. And I'll always throw in something a little crazy, if the project allows it.

What inspires you?

The world, really. More specifically, the people we share this planet with – we all have a unique outlook and input. Nature is also a great inspiration for me: I'm amazed by the colours that occur naturally and the unexpected combinations I find.

What’s your interior design philosophy?

I aspire to achieve elegant simplicity with a focus on quality and longevity, and I always take my client’s needs and wants into consideration.

The heart of a home is…

the kitchen.

What colours are on your radar?

Mustardy yellows, mulberry reds, cranberry pinks and grey, always grey.

What textures, materials and finishes should we be looking out for?

I love juxtaposing varied materials like wood, marble and metal (especially brass and mild steel) with each other, often adding a splash of colour. It's an approach I find exciting both practically and aesthetically.

If money were no object, what would be your most coveted item?

Wow, difficult question. There are many, but if I had to limit it to three, I would love a sculpture by Edoardo Villa – I really love his little maquettes and tubular steel works. Serge Alain Nitegeka’s sculptures are also beautiful and I find them very inspiring. And lastly, I'd like anything by [ceramicist] Esias Bosch.

What would you like to see more of in local design?

I'd love to see more international recognition for local designers.

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