Galerie CO’s Proust Questionnaire: Ronel Jordaan

The body of work produced by South African designer, Ronel Jordaan, represents exactly that which Galerie CO was established to promote.

We met her a few years ago at Capetown’s annual Design Indaba, a design show that attracts exciting exhibitors from all over Southern Africa and is truly a hot-bed of creativity. For CO, it was a perfect fit. Ronel Jordaan’s work is contemporary, functional and beautiful backed up by a sophisticated understanding of the concept of sustainability to which she is firmly committed.

Ronel Jordaan 5Inspired by the eloquence and serenity of nature, Ronel uses pure South African merino wool to create, completely by hand, her collection of felt rock cushions, pebble carpets and textiles. We sell her rock cushions and ottomans to dedicated fans all over North America. They are sublime. With no stitches they look just like beautiful rocks.

Ronel Jordaan rocks(Source: Ronel Jordaan)

She is committed to practicing fair trade and all her pieces are made with an eye to environmental and social responsibility. And job creation is at the forefront of her business. Her workshop is staffed by people from local communities whom she has personally trained and several of whom are now felters of international standing.

Ronel Jordaan’s business is a success story. In May of this year industry editors at New York’s Contemporary Furniture Fair awarded her the very prestigious Editors’ Choice Award as the best of this year’s exhibitors in the textile category.

Ronel Jordaan portrait

Ronel Jordaan (Source: Design Network Africa)

Achieving this level of success is no mean feat, particularly given the added mandate that she imposes on herself and her production to employ sustainable processes. Yet she has made it work without compromising on her design or sacrificing quality. Read on to learn a just a little bit more about this very inspiring designer.

Galerie CO: What is your current state of mind?

Ronel Jordaan: Filled with happiness.

Galerie CO: What does sustainability mean to you?

Ronel: To be able to constantly produce ethical, eco friendly designs and products, and to manifest growth.

Galerie CO: What was your first artistic creation?

Ronel:  A drawing of a teddy bear.

Galerie CO: What is your favourite work of art?

Ronel: A painting done by a friend Zak de Villiers.

Zak @ exhibitionSouth African artist, Zac de Villiers, at his exhibition. (Source: Ronel Jordaan)

Galerie CO: What kind of weather makes you feel the most creative?

Ronel: All kinds of weather. It is pressure that is my best friend when designing.

Galerie CO: What keeps you busy when you’re not working/designing/creating?

Ronel: Gardening.

Galerie CO: Who is your favourite designer?

Ronel: Campana Brothers

campana-brothers-864x484Brazil’s Campana Brothers. (Source: Galerie CO via brazilianfurnituredesign.com)

Galerie CO: What is your favourite meal?

Ronel: Mozambique Prawns, on the beach, over a basic grill.

Mozambique beach

On the beach in Mozambique (Source: Ronel Jordaan)

Galerie CO: What is your most treasured possession?

Ronel: My son’s wedding ring. He and his wife were killed in a car crash.

Galerie CO: What do you most value in your friends?

Ronel: Listening and always being supportive.

Galerie CO: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Ronel: Having a glass of wine at sunset in the bush veld.

Mozambique  beach sunsetA glass of wine at sunset (Source: Ronel Jordaan)

Galerie CO: What is your greatest extravagance?

Ronel: Art purchases. I have no more wall space!

Galerie CO: What is your favourite city?

Ronel:  Lalibella, Ethiopia.

Church_of_Bet_Abba_Libanos,_Lalibela,_Ethiopia_(3328424359)Spectacular rock hewn church of Bet Abba Libanus, Lalibela, Ethiopia (Source: commons.wikimedia.org)

Galerie CO: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Ronel: Creating employment.

Galerie CO: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Ronel: Being able to concentrate. My mind forever wonders.

Galerie CO: What is your motto?

Ronel: Carpe Diem.

Galerie CO: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Ronel: Ja nee.  Only South Africans will understand.

Ja-neeGalerie CO: Apart from your work, what is your favourite item at CO?

Ronel: So difficult but… the life size wire gazelle.

impala standingLife-size wire gazelle by South Africa’s Streetwires (Source: Galerie CO)

We’d love to hear how you’d incorporate Ronel Jordaan’s exquisite rock cushions into your decor. Leave us a comment below or let us know on Facebook or Twitter @GalerieCO

Galerie CO’s Proust Questionnaire: Joe Jin

We’d like to introduce you to Joe Jin. He’s a young designer from Toronto and we just started working with him.  Joe is also an architect who believes that design should be simple, accessible, intelligent and playful. Here he is, explaining his approach to design in his own words.

We fell in love with Joe’s “Mr.” and “Mrs.” pillows, which present the universal symbols for men and for women, re-contextualized. Mr. cushion, web

Configurations of “Mr.” and “Mrs.” pillows (Source: Joe Jin)

Joe’s pillows are just one of many designs that we admire. In this, our final dispatch from New York Design Week, we want to congratulate Joe for his International Contemporary Furniture Festival (ICFF) Studio Award for his colourful Bent Dot stool. The ICFF Studio is a platform to match selected emerging designers and their prototype products with potential manufacturers. The win meant that Joe was invited to show his stools in New York to the over thirty thousand attendees at the ICFF.

ICFF Joe Jin

Joe showing his award-winning Bent Dot Stool at ICFF (Source: Joe Jin)

Joe Jin’s a busy man – managing interns, meeting with manufacturers, and creating new and innovative designs – but he took some time out to answer our version of the Proust Questionnaire to give Galerie CO fans a better sense of what makes him tick.

Galerie CO: What is your current state of mind?

Joe Jin: Active (post-coffee).

Galerie CO: What does sustainability mean to you?

Joe: We cannot continue to live the way that we currently do. It is not sustainable. Current and future products need to think of sustainability as an integral (and inseparable) part of the design process.

Galerie CO: What was your first artistic creation?

Joe:  From what I can remember, drawings on the underside of the family coffee table.

Galerie CO: What is your favourite work of art?

Joe: There are too many to list.

Galerie CO: What kind of weather makes you feel the most creative?

Joe: External weather has less effect on my creativity as “internal weather” (i.e., how I feel). In short, I’m most creative when I am happy.

Galerie CO: What keeps you busy when you’re not working/designing/creating?

Joe: Thinking about working/designing/creating! Design is a labour of love and as such, always seems to be on my mind. That said, I do love time with friends and family. That, and motorcycles.

Galerie CO: Who is your favourite designer?

Joe: Again, too many to list.

Galerie CO: What is your favourite meal?

Joe: Too many to list! If I hadn’t chosen design as a career path, I likely would have trained to be a cook. Joe and his mom, cooking

Joe cooking with his mom (Source: Joe Jin)

Galerie CO: What is your most treasured possession?

Joe: Memories.

Galerie CO: What do you most value in your friends?

Joe: Loyalty. Companionship. Similar goals and interests.

Galerie CO: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Joe: Doing what I love (and sharing that experience with loved ones). Repeat.

Galerie CO: What is your greatest extravagance?

Joe: I’m a foodie, so basing an entire trip on “places to eat” is not uncommon.

Galerie CO: You must have enjoyed a great meal while you were in New York for ICFF:

Joe: Definitely. Here’s a photo of a dish I really indulged in and enjoyed from Le Bernardin.   le bernardin_yellowfin tuna

Layers of thinly pounded yellowfin tuna, foie gras, chives and extra virgin olive oil (Source: Le Bernardin)

Galerie CO: What is your favourite city?

Joe:  New York. It’s familiar, and at the same time, it’s not.

Galerie CO: What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Joe: Having the opportunity to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Galerie CO: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Joe: I would be less stubborn.

Galerie CO: What is your motto?

Joe: YOLO (just kidding). I don’t have a motto but this seems to be the only motto people keep saying/tattooing on themselves these days.

Galerie CO: Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Joe: “Awesome” (my interns just corroborated this).

Galerie CO: Apart from your work, what is your favourite item at CO?

Joe: Ronel Jordaan’s large felt rock cushion is awesome (we have one in the studio!) and supports a great social cause in South Africa. ronel jordaan's large felt stone on joe jim's daisy garden rug

Ronel Jordaan’s large felt rock cushion on top of Joe Jin’s Garden Daisy rug (Source: joejin.com)

Joe’s  design company looks for opportunities to inject its personality into every component of every product it designs. We like this personality and we’re looking forward to seeing it applied to future designs!

Joe Jin pillows

For more information on Joe Jin’s pillowcases, click here.

Galerie CO’s Proust questionnaire: Foekje Fleur van Duin

In the North Pacific Ocean there are areas where plastic debris accumulates as a result of global ocean currents. The garbage, which sits just under the surface of the water, is estimated to cover an area roughly the size of France.

ocean debris

Debris in the Pacific Ocean

This man-made plastic debris is not biodegradable. It’s consumed, with tragic results, by sea birds, fish, and marine mammals and it does not belong in our oceans.

In 2009, Foekje Fleur van Duin was studying art in the Netherlands when she read an article about this ever-accumulating mass of plastic. The debris finds its way to the North Pacific comes from all over the world, including from the Netherlands. What she learned inspired her to go down to the Maas River near Rotterdam where she found all kinds of plastic objects from toys to detergent bottles. Continue reading

Galerie CO’s Proust questionnaire: Caroline Ritchie

Corita Rose’s AMOR cushions never lose their appeal. Probably because they are created one at a time; painstakingly silk screened by hand onto plush velvet. Each is an individual.

Amor Cushions

We’re showcasing them at Galerie CO this month – a luxurious Valentine’s offering that you’ll love all year round – so we’d like to introduce you to their creator, designer Caroline Ritchie.

I first met Caroline while wandering through 100% Design in London a few years ago during London Design Week (Festival of Britain). 100% Design is a great show with lots of cool design. But it has its fair share of corporate booths showcasing the latest kitchens. So you can imagine my delight when I rounded a corner to see Corita Rose.

Corita Rose Booth at 100% Design

Caroline’s booth was decked out with cushions and upholstery in her exquisite velvets printed with strong imagery in vivid colours set off against her wonderful large-scale printed curtains (“Fortune Favours the Brave” – I dream about those curtains). Taking it over the top was a life size “boxer” clothed in pieces made using her silk butterfly prints and her “swarm” bee print in silk and in velvet. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. The colours and the textures, her bold designs and her big smile, stopped me in my tracks. And I’m so glad, because we have been working together ever since. I never get tired of her work.

vivid colours and strong imagery will bring an added dimension to any interior, enhancing surroundings with a celebration of life, beauty and inspiration. – See more at: http://www.galerie-co.com/catalog/carpets-and-windows/curtain-panels-velvet-fortune-favours-the-brave#sthash.8bulu3hW.dpuf

Caroline’s designs are a celebration of life, beauty and inspiration so we asked her to take CO’s version of the “Proust Questionnaire” so that you can get to know her a little better and to learn about what inspires her. Here’s what she had to say:

Galerie CO: What does sustainability mean to you?

Caroline:  A happy balance between man and the environment. Continue reading

Galerie CO’s Proust questionnaire: Maude E. Bouchard Furness

Welcome to the first edition of  Galerie CO’s Proust Questionnaire!

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about personality designed to discover new things about old friends. It is named for the French writer Marcel Proust, whose responses to a series of questions posed to him made it popular as a form of interview.

Galerie CO has adapted and shortened the original for our blog.

Maude E. Bouchard Furness

of Atelier HOCH

Galerie CO: What does sustainability mean to you?

Maude: Maximizing materials and respecting people and nature.

Galerie CO: What is your favourite work of art?

Maude: A white square on white background.

Galerie CO: Who are your favourite designers?

Maude: I have no memory for names, I like ideas.cabane

Galerie CO: What was your first artistic creation?

Maude: Cutting hair for my dolls.

Galerie CO: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Maude: Sheesh, a cabin in the woods with my dog and my boyfriend, with a barn where I can make things.

Galerie CO: Which living person do you most admire

Maude: Probably my grandmother.

Galerie CO: What is your greatest extravagance? Continue reading