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SA Designer Tristan du Plessis Wins Global Design Award

We chat to designer Tristan du Plessis of TristanPlessis Studio, who won Best Overall Restaurant at the global Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2019.


Tristan du Plessis | House and Leisure

TristanPlessis Studio is the first South African design studio to win the prestigious and internationally recognised accolade – Best Overall Restaurant – at the recent Restaurant & Bar Design Awards.

The studio is managed by founder and designer, Tristan du Plessis, who received the award for the design of popular Sandton restaurant, Alice & Fifth.

Du Plessis expressed his gratitude for the accolade and said that attending the awards ceremony – where some of the world's best designers were present – was very rewarding. 

'It feels great to be recognised for a project that I loved creating,' he says.

'It's also somehow humbling having attended the awards and being among all the design icons that I look up to. I'm excited for the future as I feel that the rest of my career is still very much ahead of me.'

Alice & Fifth is located in the heart of Sandton in Johannesburg and offers an opulent escape to another realm, with velvet tones and handpicked rare marbles everywhere catching the eye.

ALSO READ: Alice In Wonderland: The Oh-So-Glamorous Alice & Fifth 

Tristan du Plessis | House and Leisure

Du Plessis explains that the inspiration behind the design of Alice & Fifth orginated in the merger of opulent cabaret clubs of the past with the contemporary world of African luxury. 

'We wanted a sumptuous and decadent space juxtaposed with a raw unrefined underground edge. The feel was intended to be nostalgic of a time gone by with a contemporary twist and a slightly dark undertone,' he says.

The juxtaposition of these rich and luxe textures with wood and other raw materials works brilliantly well in the space. 

'We created a dramatic backdrop ... using handcrafted walnut wall panelling as well as curved French paneling and exposed raw concrete columns that lend support to the Sandton Sun Hotel,' says Du Plessis. 

Tristan du Plessis | House and Leisure

ALSO READ: HL Next Level: Interior Designer Tristan Du Plessis 

The Restaurant & Bar Design Awards is a globally recognised compeition that focuses on the design of food and beverage spaces. The panel of judges for the awards is comprised of the most influential global personalities from the hospitality, design and lifestyle media sector. 

Du Plessis is currently aiming to take his work global, and he is currently working on several restaurant projects in the United Arab Emirates and a bohemian-luxe beach club on the Palm in Dubai. 

Asked about his overall design style, Du Plessis says, 'I try my hardest to be adaptive in my design and create a style per project, but whenever the project calls for it I like to contrast glamour with raw industrial elements.'

Tristan du Plessis | House and Leisure

ALSO READ: The Joburg Home Of Tristan Du Plessis Epitomises Pared-Back Glamour 

While South African creatives are most definitely making their mark in the wider world, Du Plessis says that this is not always given sufficient attention locally.

'I think for a small country we have a great output and pretty substantial global recognition. I do feel though that this doesn't necessarily translate to local recognition of our own talents,' he says.

Tristan du Plessis | House and Leisure
Acclaimed designer Tristan du Plessis.