Meet The Creative Director From Form Interior
Form Interior Décor & Design is the realization of a lifelong dream for Creative Director and Designer Erica Schalkwyk. She started the company in January 2014 and it is built on a love for homes and the families who live in them.
Tell us about your background and how you started Form Interior.
I come from Dullstroom and studied Information Design (which is Art direction in the Advertising Industry) at University Pretoria. After two Honours Degrees and only two years in Advertising, I realised that this was not my industry or community. I then took a lecturing post at Vega (I was still paying off that offensive student loan) so that I could study Interior Design part-time. I completed my studies and started From Interior as a part-time gig while lecturing in 2012. In January 2014, I could finally quit my day job and register the company as I felt the band was going to make it. From 2012 to 2018 I operated solo and welcomed Jessica and Anushce to the team in 2019. They interned in 2018 and I have never managed to get rid of them. We survived Covid and in 2021 are doing better than ever!
What have been some of your career highlights?
My career highlights are being chosen as a colab Designer for Design Joburg 2018 and House and Leisure top 40 young creatives in South Africa. Being able to manage, mentor and reward my employees financially has probably been the most rewarding aspect of having my own business.
And a few personal highlights?
I got married in 2011 to Werner and in 2020 welcomed our first baby boy, Mynhardt. I love my two Boston Terriers, travelling and cooking for friends and family. Hosting is an actual hobby… ha ha! We are currently building a brand new home in Parktown North which will be completed in March and we are very excited for this dream come true.
What is the focus of Form Interior?
Residential homes are a focus for us. Ones that bring a safe and comfortable haven to the people who live in them. We create spaces that pay tribute to people.
What sort of training have you completed in order to operate in the design field?
Interior Design Post Graduate Diploma particularly because I made a career change and could not afford (time-wise) to do another full degree. The Honours degree in Art Direction helped to give me the skills of problem solving and conceptual development which is critical in a creative industry. As long as you have a design background, you can learn the technical aspects fairly quickly.
What personally inspires you in your working life?
My employees are a big drive because I am responsible to make this work not only for me anymore. The other thing is other Interior Designers, Artists, Makers and Entrepreneurs who succeed in making it as a small business. If it was easy, everyone would do it and I have so much respect for all my esteemed colleagues in this industry.
What are some considerations when designing interiors?
Start with the rules. You can justify every design decision based on the theory of principles of scale and proportion, balance, emphasis, rhythm, and harmony. If you understand the basics you can look and apply them in absolutely anything you do and the more you do, the more that design thinking becomes second nature. Then comes the trifecta of client service and design which is Space Planning, Design and Budget – those must all align in order to make a project plan a success.
What is your favourite must-have product at the moment?
Anything South African Design. We have world-renowned art and design on our doorsteps and I’m so proud of this country.
Any exciting projects or collaborations you are involved in?
Nothing newsworthy but we’re working on some beautiful homes for lovely clients. Every project and person is special.
Which designer inspires you?
We love Ettiene Hanekom and Studio 19.
What’s your personal motto?
Kindness solves everything… literally.
A place you visited to unwind in Africa?
Where to start! Our favourite is the Botswana Delta, then Namibia Sossusvlei and then the beaches of Zanzibar and Mozambique. South Africa has the best game viewing and nature reserves.
For more visit Form Interior. Erica and her team love residential designs and focus on a warm curated style that creates ultimate comfort, laid-back sophistication as well as practical and enjoyable interiors.
- Be Inspired