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Exploring trends, style & spaces with Stoep Collective

An exclusive chat with Architect & Director of Stoep Collective George F. Pieterse about his career, their latest design projects and design trends for 2022

By Amy Saunders | January 7, 2022 | Architecture

What started as a side hustle is now well on its way to becoming a successful small scale multi-disciplinary design studio. After completing his studies at the University of Pretoria in 2011, Pieterse garnered valuable work experience at a few Pretoria based architecture firms and in 2018 launched what was then a side project and creative outlet, Stoep Collective.

In March of 2021, he started focusing his time and energy on Stoep Collective and a few of the multiple projects he has worked on caught our eye. Below we chat with Pieterse about his career in design and architecture, design trends for 2022 and we explore two of Stoep Collective’s most recently completed projects.

What inspired you to choose a career in Architecture and Design?

Some of my earliest memories are of exploring residential construction sites down the road from my Gran when we went to visit Pretoria, these half-completed spaces were simultaneously empty and yet filled with infinite potential. I’ve always had a great interest in spatial design and the tectonics of construction. The way individual spaces or components fit together, from the seemingly insignificant to the most palpable, to form a more cohesive and refined whole, has always fascinated me.

Charles Eames said, “Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality [per se].”

How do you describe your design style?

As a designer, I believe that creative adaptability is the key to any successful design and that great design is born from simplicity, clarity and an honest expression of materials and intent. We prefer a less is more approach with a pared-back minimalist aesthetic, employing a considered and sensitive design methodology that strives to create a sense of clarity and timelessness, striking a balance between bold form-making, subtle intervention & practicality of use.

Who are the architects and designers that inspire you and your work? Locally and abroad.

These are numerous, with a few key players being David Chipperfield (UK), Studio MK27 (Brazil), Marià Castelló Architects (Spain), MOLD Architects (Greece), CO-LAB Design Office (Mexico), Joe Adsett Architects (Australia). Locally the guys over at Malan Vorster Architects as well as Mezzanine Interiors are producing phenomenal work.

Tell us more about Apartment 101 and the inspiration behind the design?

The brief from the client was simple, a modern Pied-à-Terre in the heart of Pretoria, which he will share with his partner. Finishes were to be pared back and minimalist with a focus on open-plan living anchored by a strong Scandinavian design language and offset with some high-contrast colours and textures to add depth and drama.

Photography by Natasha Dawjee Laurent

The original floors were exposed from underneath the decades-old wall-to-wall carpet and polished down to expose the innate industrial character of such an in-situ concrete floor. The exposed aggregate now visible throughout the apartment gave a jewel-like appearance to the floor combining the industrial with the luxe. The aesthetic was literally built from the ground up, with the floor colour and texture forming the backbone of the entire design.

Photography by Natasha Dawjee Laurent

After a lengthy timeline delay of about 5 weeks, battling stock shortages and massive supply chain issues, the final design came into its own by way of carefully combining smooth powder-white walls, textured dark and moody colours, segmented timber and storm grey joinery elements, glossy quartz surfaces, lighting as an extension of the design, an abundance of plant life and a client with an unwavering eye for detail.

Photography by Natasha Dawjee Laurent

Take the full tour in the image gallery below.

Tell us more about Apartment 113 and the inspiration behind the design?

The design approach for Apartment 113 called for a deviation from our usual neutral and minimalist aesthetic. In this instance, the client favoured a dark and moody interior with more ornate design and décor features. Opening up the floor plan was also at the core of this renovation to ensure a well utilised open-plan design.

Photography by Natasha Dawjee Laurent

For practical reasons, we also had to rethink the entire lighting layout of the apartment and because of the existing concrete structure, we were not able to recess the new cabling and fittings into the soffit. A decision was thus made to rather celebrate the lighting reticulation by honestly expressing the entire installation as a design feature.

Photography by Natasha Dawjee Laurent

The final interior, with close involvement from the client, is richly textured with a sense of drama prevalent in each of the spaces, giving the apartment an unmistakable masculine, urban loft look-and-feel.

Photography by Natasha Dawjee Laurent

Take the full tour in the image gallery below.

What more can we expect to see from George and The Stoep Collective in 2022?

There are some very exciting new-build residential and renovation projects finally breaking ground this year with quite a few new projects still being resolved on the drawing board as well. We are also launching our first collectable design collection together with a more accessible art and décor range to compliment everyday spaces.

What are your architecture and design trend predictions for 2022 and beyond?

I’m always hesitant to talk about trends. This, by definition, dictates an aesthetic or an approach that is purely grounded in the now, in what is deemed fashionable and thus by default, fleeting. As a practice, we prefer a timeless design language with a well-calculated touch of trend to keep things fresh.

With that said, I believe people are much more focused on their immediate home surroundings and have come to identify all the shortfalls and triumphs that these spaces have to offer. There are few areas of our daily lives that impact us as much as the spaces we call home and people are taking note. The pandemic has taught us a great deal about what we consider everyday life with one of the main things being a massive shift towards work-from-home.

This in turn has forced people to critically review their homes, their spaces, their routines, and their direct relationships towards them. The traditional concept of going into the office has come and gone. We are now able, more than ever, to work whenever and wherever we choose. I believe, as professionals, we will be designing better-integrated home/work/play spaces that allow for a myriad of activities to take place.

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