Share on...

Up Close & Personal With Haldane Martin

In an ever-evolving world, design is in constant flux. We chat to internationally acclaimed furniture and interior designer, Haldane Martin, about what design really means and what we can look forward to in upcoming months.

What is your definition of “Design”?

Design has two literal meanings: to plan and to sketch/draw. For me it is both. Effectively design is about problem solving and at Haldane we aim to do this in a beautiful, meaningful way. Lately we’ve been focussing on premium outdoor collections that encapsulate the ultimate Cape Town lifestyle to celebrate what we love the most about South Africa, communing with nature.


In your view, is design an expression of art?

Art & Design are similar, sometimes they merge in one object. When I see iconic chairs made by my heroes it feels like art. Definitely art elements play a role in design. The category Art Design is its own beast. There the focus is strongly on visual statements. The Virus sculpture is a great example of that. It’s very concept driven. Our interior projects also centre around a strong visual concept, but with the addition of functional and spacial requirements. When it comes to furniture design, the strongest visual art element is the final form of the piece – every aspect coming together as one. There are lines, textures, colours and materiality that add to the final visual image as well as the tangible texture. It must evoke a feeling as well. I suppose that the intention to make our furniture speak to something makes it similar to art.


Haldane’s new Slingshot Collection will have you envisioning safari sunsets. The Serengeti inspired Slingshot Collection is a simplified take on the late modern sling chair typology, designed in South Africa for contemporary outdoor leisure. Distinctly masculine, the simple frame is crafted from laser cut stainless steel tube. The back legs penetrate the seat tubing, joining the back rest, to form a strong triangulated structure. With minimal visual components, the Slingshot Collection is the fixie of furniture – simple luxury in customizable colours. Rectangular seats & back rests in world leading performance fabrics (or thick leather for indoors) are finished with Iroko (African hardwood) end caps.”

Can the computer substitute for the Designer?

As designers we are on the forefront of technological development. Questions we need to ask today and problems that need solving can and should be addressed utilizing our rapidly advancing technologies. The computer along with other new technology is not only a tool to improve what designers are doing now and make it faster, easier and more accurate but there is also the potential of embracing new manufacturing techniques and even new materials. Technology now allows us to create more earth friendly materials & manufacturing processes. It’s not a competition between man & machine but rather a compliment. Our design process is man & machine from inception to delivery. Hand drawn sketches are then designed on computer & manufactured using a mixture of machined techniques & hand-made processes.

Does design obey laws when you design?

There are principles of design much like the laws of science. Physical realities impact what and how you create as well as how your design is used. In our world of 2-second Instagram posts, there’s a trend in design to focus on high impact visuals like form, colour, texture & composition. It’s the less glamorous principles that separate the wheat from the chaff. Things like comfort & ergonomics, longevity and what the piece is made from, how that impacts the earth & society are often ignored or explored on a very superficial level. Ultimately, these hidden elements are what’s going to make (or break) your piece.

What has been your biggest design challenge?

Every project you take on presents multi-faceted challenges to resolve or explore. Our ambition is to find that place where each piece feels resolved. Right now, the challenge is broader than any one design brief, with the entire industry under threat from the global pandemic and our severe lockdown policies. Not limited to our industry, there will be new challenges facing humanity and that means new opportunities and space for change.



What is the future for Haldane Martin Design – Anything exciting coming up?

At the moment we are building our export business, now available in the United States, United Arab Emirates & Europe. We are launching our new Website and Branding (that was designed by Monday Design) and we also have a few exciting new collections in the pipeline.

For more visit Haldane Martin.

Leave a comment/Ask a question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit SA Decor & Design on social media

Interested in advertising with us? Find out how