Seldom has a local book caused such a stir in South African design circles. Released just weeks ago at an enormous launch party, Stephen Falcke’s A World of Design has been a labour of love 10 years in the making.
As an interior designer, Falcke is celebrated for redefining the African aesthetic and giving it 21st century, luxury appeal. In a search for South African interiors, it’s Falcke’s work that often comes up. He is loved for his use of colour and for juxtaposing different styles. “I love texture. I love putting contrast together - rough and smooth; shiny and matt; variations of one colour or clashing colours,” he explains.
His book is a joy to explore, a weighty digest chronicling just 40 of his projects in London and South Africa, two places he has called home over the years. With a career that began with his studies at The Chelsea School of Art and Design, Falcke worked for two of the industry’s most prominent forces at the time: London’s David Hicks and Johannesburg’s Lionel Levin. When he ventured out on his own, he was well equipped to become the design luminary he is today. When asked what never fails to make a space work, he says: “You need a focal point, whether it’s a view, a painting, a fireplace… your eye needs to be attracted to something, otherwise it’s lost.”
Among a list of hotels and developments whose names you’d immediately recognise, he famously designed the interior of The Saxon, whose basket-clad wall has become a signature of Falcke’s and flies the flag for South African design. From grand to small-scale, formal to bohemian, his countless residential projects span the globe and the style spectrum. “It’s about rooms that live,” he summarises, “I can admire a sterile room for its discipline but I could never live in one.”