Get to know interior designer Donald Nxumalo – Elle Decoration

Ahead of next week’s Design Joburg featuring Rooms on View, we chat to Joburg-based interior designer Donald Nxumalo of Donald Nxumalo Interior Design, about his feature within the CoLabs section of the show, presented in collaboration with Fired Earth Paint.

Donald Nxumalo is creating a boudoir space with bedroom and en-suite bathroom.

Donald’s previous work.

What are you planning for your CoLab at Design Joburg?

We love surprises! The utter joy on our clients faces when we hand over the keys to a completed project is priceless. For Design Joburg, we have the keys, so please come through and enjoy the surprise! We can say that our bedroom with en-suite bathroom space will be packed with a divine new offering from Donald Nxumalo Interior Design.

What theme are you working with and where did you draw inspiration from in creating your concept?

Our theme is centered around modern living in an intimate space. The inspiration was drawn from a number of our current projects where we have seen the creation of more personal spaces, naturally, resonates with our clients. From this foundation we’ve created a concept that will resonate with many different people, with something for everyone.

Donald Nxumalo Interiors’ feature stand at the 2017 show

What would you consider to be the highlight of your CoLab stand that would make visitors want to visit it?

Highlights will include latest innovations and heaps of personal touches. We approach all our projects asking, ‘Would I live in this space?’, and our stand is going to be just that… so aspiring that visitors will want to take it all home with them.

What do you see as the ultimate trend right now?

Bold colours are a trend for me. Not in their entirety, but as accents. As can be seen with our current installation of our Kramerville showroom, we have created a very calm palette, but with bold yellows and mustards as accents.

What do you consider to be the worst trend ever?

That’s a bit tricky to answer. I believe the moment that its trending, it must be working. I believe that trends become ‘bad’ trends because times change and either something that appears better than the last comes along or we find more efficient and stylish ways of doing things.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your interior/architectural style?

There’s no one place, person or source that I draw inspiration from. I have noticed that I am inspired when on the move, so brilliant ideas emerge from a place of dynamism and movement. What has been most inspiring is the rich diversity that we have in South Africa. We often look overseas for the next best thing, but when you look at the level of talent, passion and creativity right here in Africa, we really don’t need to look very far. We just need to harness it and take it to the hills!

Give us your one best piece of interior design or architectural advice.

Don’t be afraid of anything, the moment you think that your design sense is too much, just go ahead and do it.

What excites you about South African design?

South Africa’s diversity means we find inspiration from different backgrounds; both their similarities and differences are what makes it exciting. Africa is metaphorically borderless, so we’re lucky to draw inspiration from the rest of Africa too, adding a further dimension to our design language. The simple incorporation of some knitted detail into a couch design, for example, would resonate with Ndebele, Zulu and even with tribes in Kenya. Ultimately, the most exciting thing is design in Africa is still in its infancy, so we can expect much more from it in the future.

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

I’d like to see more local designers making use of local manufacturers and craftsmen. I believe that there is excellence in our nation, and we need to stop selling ourselves short. I believe it’s time we told our African story our way.

What are you coveting right now for your own home?

Weirdly enough a television. I’ve been reading so much that I don’t even own a television.

Tell us about your dream project.

My dream project would be The various South African High Commissions across the world.

Tell us a little more about what aspect of what you do that really excites you?

Seeing design dreams being realised through the eyes of my clients. It’s always amazing and really exciting seeing a concept come to life and exceeding the expectations of the client.

If you could meet any designer living or dead, who would it be and why?

At present it would be Nate Berkus. His approach to design resonates with me; it’s always very ‘human’ and client oriented. That is how we also do things in our studio.

Describe the key elements of the ultimate interior /home.

A comfortable couch, great lighting, a good rug and of course some beautiful scatter cushions to finish off the look. Other pieces that will make a space great, would be family portraits on the walls. We use floating mobile shelves that allow you to move them around and create a different mood.

What gadget, device, software or piece of IT equipment can you not live without? And you can’t pick your mobile phone!

That would be my laptop. I communicate a lot through email, and not much gets lost in translation because people, for the most part, write full sentences in email!

Design Joburg takes place at the Sandton Convention Centre, from 25-27 May 2018.