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Spotlight: Meet The Sugarbakers Team

Sugarbakers started in 1994 and recently celebrated their 25th anniversary of interiors and design. The Sugarbakers team is a group of talented interior architectural designers, decorators, stylists, artists, as well as highly skilled artisans who work with their hands to create magic from your vision.

An empty space is music to the team’s ears… And over the past five years, Sugarbakers successfully established an office in Singapore and after a return to South Africa, are now again finding their footprint on African soil. Director and Designer Jas Jhol says: “South Africa is blessed with such bountiful nature, a beautiful climate and most friendly people.”

We recently chatted to Jas Johl and Andre Meeuwis (Director & Head Designer) about what makes them tick and what we can expect from Sugarbakers in the near future.

How would you describe your personal style?

A very specific taste in the sense of ‘phobia’ for strong bold colours. Our style starts with colour, and it can be described in so many ways. Our colour of choice is at the start of the spectrum, and end of the spectrum. White, and black. Just like Ying and Yang come together perfectly, we believe Black and White are not opposites, rather come together perfectly as the beginning and the end.

What qualities define your colours?

Colour for me has to have a complimentary quality. If the colour works well with another, if it compliments another colour well, or compliments another texture, it’s of a good quality. And a colour should not just be defined as either a good or poor colour, its only bad when its shown badly. For example a black swan looks more important than a grey duck. The black in the swan defines the quality and strength of that object.

What is the most recent purchase you’ve made for your home?

Jas designed and ordered an organic chandelier for our dining table. It’s one of our fav pieces in the home now as it’s such a conversation piece.

What one design element, trend or furniture item can you not live without? 

We have a beautiful bronze collection, and we move our pieces around all the time. We love the classics and If I have to live without a beautiful statue around, I wouldn’t be able to cope.

What design influence has had the greatest influence on your work and business?

We take inspiration from many places. But have been influenced greatly by the late Gianni Versace. His passion, love for fabrics and design, and not being afraid to mix. His fashion and interior designs and creations have influenced us greatly. Love his personal home and how he designed the pool area with the columns, and added gilded mosaic tiles in his pool, inspired from his fabrics, he said. In addition to that we are greatly inspired by our travels.

What has been one of the most challenging projects you have worked on?

We recently had a client in Singapore, who might we add, is not very young, but is very well travelled. She lived on the 8th floor of a sky scraper. Her design brief for the living room was, to add a sky-light above her coffee table, in the centre of the room! Trying to explain to her it was not humanly possible, was not an answer she wanted to hear. She insisted that we were not good designers! How do you create a skylight in an apartment on the 8th floor when there are 20 more apartments above you. We lost this job because of that. Quite humorous actually.

How would you describe the design/decor industry in South Africa at present?

We have always felt that South African designers are some of the best in the world. We are a nation that loves to entertain at home and some are blessed to have huge spaces with rolling lawns. Our climate here is conducive for inside outside living. Having established an office in Singapore, we have attended many shows and exhibitions in Singapore and Asia and have found that what we produce here in SA is of such high standard and extremely creative.

What trends do you think we should keep an eye on in upcoming seasons?

Covid 19 has taught us many lessons in life. Most of them are very reflective about who we are and how we interact with our friends, family and mostly with nature. We believe that there will be a revival to classics, we will be more conscious of what material we use and where it comes from. Carbon footprint has caused so much problems with mother earth. We believe there will be a revival and also give birth to a new African renaissance. We hope that designers will take some time and think twice of using a product or supplier which is not environmentally friendly.

What exciting projects do you have planned within the next year?

We are currently, like the rest of the world, being forced to stay indoors and have had to put all our projects on hold. Once we commence after lock down, it just so happens that we are starting on a Boutique at a private residence for a client in Jhb, as well as a store Boutique in Plettenberg Bay. Quite strange that both came up at the same time! As well as splitting ourselves in half to be in Singapore for a contract involving a commercial project for an indoor children’s playground and party venue.  However with this lockdown now, we have to think out of the box and see how we can “give back”.

Our YouTube videos were a result of boredom at home. We made these homemade videos (rather bad quality as we only used equipment that we had) to share little hints and tips of pro designers with the lay man out there. We used old clips and added new clips of us working on our very own home.  There will be about 5 episodes of approximately 12 mins each of bad acting and laughing, sharing our experiences and also imparting small interior hints and tips. The process taught us not to take ourselves too seriously.  Please do subscribe to the channel and have a laugh at our acting and enjoy the videos!

For more visit Sugarbakers. 

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