We chat to Thato Dibetle, a woman silently making strides with her Pretoria-based interior architecture design consultancy firm, TT DECO. TT DECO, founded in 2012 has successfully completed a number of residential interior design projects, space planning projects for corporates and has delivered exceptional quality furniture across both areas. It places emphasis on people and eccocentric designs, reflecting aesthetics and functionality.
How did you get into the design space?
I studied interior design in tertiary and have worked as a commercial corporate space planner and designer for the past 10 years.
Tell us a little more about what aspect of what you do really excites you?
I really love the problem solving which comes with what I do, as it enables me to expand possibilities and new ways forward. I enjoy the diversity which comes with each project also enables me to push the boundaries of my creativity.
Your views on cultural appropriation in the design/décor space?
I think that we should be proud that other cultures are embracing elements from our heritage and see it as aesthetically pleasing to be utilised in any design spaces. It’s a great platform for us to also use it as an advantage to further explore more ways to celebrate who we are and distinguish our own unique mark in the architectural and design space for us by us whilst still meshing what is uniquely ours with other mediums of contemporary influences.
What do you know now, that you wish you knew before embarking on this decor and furniture design journey?
I wish I knew that I didn’t always have to remain safe by following the conventionally accepted trends, that self-expression is a trademark whilst still meeting the needs of the clients. That you absolutely have to believe in who you are as your own brand.
Who inspires/Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m inspired by various other designers and artists both locally and abroad, by my surroundings, spaces and even people I encounter on a daily. My inspiration is drawn from constant change in the industry, even though I am a fan of classical minimalist style influences, change inspires me a lot.
Tell us about your dream project?
My dream project will be building and designing my dream home from start to finish. It will be a combination of Green house design, classic contemporary with elements of bringing the outside in features.
Any exciting projects or collaborations coming up that you can share with us?
We are pleased to be growing our mark into office furniture as one of our offerings. We aim to customise specific to our clients needs and aesthetic. Our corporate relationships are also expanding, we are doing some work for MTN offices and peaking a lot of interest towards what we are able to do for the residential, retail and corporate market.
What is a hot trend in the décor & design world right now?
I can’t get enough of the industrial concrete look. It works well with the contemporary look yet it can still be softened with carefully selected furniture, lighting and plant features. It’s been combined with grey tones a lot, however adding textures can also work very well with this look
What do you consider to be the worst trend?
The use of too much colour like colour blocking and the lack of colour by using too many neutrals. “Too much of something can be poisonous” & the favourite, “Less is indeed more.”
What is the one piece of art, furniture or design item you are coveting for your home right now?
To change and upcycle my dining room chairs and purchase and own a Nelson Makamo art work.
An artist/designer that you think is “one to watch” or is getting it right?
Definitely Nelson Makamo and in the interior space Donald Nxumalo.
A restaurant/s you like to frequent because of its decor, art or furniture?
My recent favourite has been “Fridays” in Blu Valley, they got all the elements spot on for the ambience that they are trying to create.
The one gadget, software you cannot do without?
I work mainly on Revit and Auto Cad for design and technical drawings.
The most iconic building or design of all time in your view is…
The Sistine Chapel.
Give us your one best piece of interior design or architectural advice.
As we evolve so should our spaces. Don’t be afraid, shift and change.