Everyone is talking about him. He is a man of style and substance, as comfortable at a rugby match as he is at a gallery opening. Able to navigate any social setting, he is informed, intriguing and very much in vogue. He is the new male ideal – the Renaissance man – and he is being celebrated in all his well-groomed glory at Decorex Joburg 2016.
While the masculine decorating trend has, in the past, been admirably acknowledged at Africa’s premier décor, design and lifestyle exhibition, this year it is reinvented with all the personality and pizzazz that defines new-age metrosexual decorating.
Sponsored by The Tile Gallery, suppliers of everything from Travertine tiles and cladding to quality marble and mosaics, the all-new Top Man showcase promises to be a major crowd-puller at Decorex Joburg, which kicks off on 5 August and runs for five days until 9 August, at the Gallagher Convention Centre.
From the eclectic to the contemporary, the Top Man feature will showcase spaces inspired by this style-savvy modern man – ones that are a far cry from the bachelor pad or lad’s lair of old. One hundred percent “man made”, this exclusive feature sees four local male celebrities each paired with a prominent designer, who will interpret the former’s unique style in the definitive masculine space.
The celebrities in question cover the gamut of South Africa’s most recognisable modern men: actor, MC, songwriter and front man of local rock-indie-electro band, The Graeme Watkins Project, Graeme Watkins; DJ, producer, remixer and self-confessed music junkie, Mark Stent; professional freestyle motocross rider, Brendan Potter; and popular radio DJ and self-styled “vlogger” (video blogger), Ian Fraser.
Graeme Watkins burst onto the South African music scene in 2009, when he pushed through to the top three in season five of M-Net Idols. In early 2010, after forming his eponymous band and becoming a regular on the SA gigging scene, he was snapped up by top local TV soap opera, Rhythm City for what was initially to be a brief appearance, but soon became a permanent role. When describing his personal decorating style, Watkins says, “I love vintage elements within a clean-edged modern environment. I’m also very passionate about supporting locally designed, sourced and crafted products. And, I’m a complete and utter tech junkie.”
Watkins is partnering with husband-and-wife design team, Rolf and Ivette Bockermann of Midrand-based Bockhaus Designs. “Because Graeme loves both vintage elements and modern technology, we’ve devised a scheme that we’re calling ‘vintage tech’,” says Ivette. “We’ll be breathing new life into older pieces, and combining these with industrial metal, raw wood and natural leather. We’re hoping to show visitors that, with good craftsmanship, old items can be beautifully upcycled, and that simple yet sophisticated masculine style decorating is not just for men – it can be appreciated by everyone.”
Hailing from the City of Gold, Mark Stent’s love affair with house music began in his early teens and led to an insatiable obsession with the art of mixing and blending beats. In demand at prestigious clubs all over the country, Stent – who is hailed “the world’s strongest DJ” thanks to his background in competitive bodybuilding – made his international debut at F1 Grand Prix opening parties and at London’s famous Mass Club, and has since enjoyed billing alongside industry greats, such as Maxi Jazz, Fatboy Slim and Chris Lake.
Designer Musa Luthuli of Mus-Lin Interiors and Renovations has been tasked with creating the ultimate “man cave” for Stent. “While I am a firm proponent of the modern classic-meets-avant-garde decorating approach, ultimately, I believe that we all have a very unique personal style of expression when it comes to both home décor and fashion,” says the Sandton-based designer. “I hope to offer visitors to the expo an opportunity to find that expression. I want to show them that it’s okay to be different!”
One of South Africa’s few professional freestyle motocross athletes, 25 year-old Brendan Potter is currently ranked third in the country in the sport of FMX. “Freestyle motocross has presented me with some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and because of this sport, I have been able to travel abroad and meet amazing people, all with a common love of FMX,” says Potter. “I hope to grow more into the sport and to take my career as far as my opportunities allow.” When describing his personal style Potter says” After a long day there’s nothing better than enjoying down time in a comfortable space. I Would rather be at home on a Saturday evening than out partying – can wake up earlier on Sunday and go riding”
For his Top Man showcase, Potter will work with designer Zimkita Sidumo, who, together with fellow interior stylist Siyabesho Thutha, helms Blaque Pearl Lifestyle, a fully integrated interior, décor and design company focused on providing clients with a bespoke service that blends design and lifestyle. “Because Siyabesho and I both have financial backgrounds, we are always very prudent when working with clients’ budgets,” says Sidumo. “We want to encourage visitors to Decorex Joburg to recycle, repurpose or reupholster instead of simply buying something new. Ultimately, we want to prove to them that the idea that interior design services are the privilege of a select few is a complete misconception.”
DJ Ian Fraser or Ian F, as he’s popularly known in the entertainment industry, has spent two decades in radio, 14 of those famously at 5FM. Says the passionate music man: “My decorating style is simple, functional and quite masculine, but also robust enough to withstand the wear and tear of three children.” Fraser, who, these days, is a full-time vlogger (video blogger) at IanF Live, describes himself as “messy, creative and always positive”, and cites his Eames chair as his favourite furnishing.
Lesego Shika of The Design Café has been assigned the task of creating the ultimate “man’s space” for Fraser. Shika, whose Joburg agency focuses on both interior and landscape design, says she will be bringing a “less is more” approach to an “eclectic scheme” fashioned specifically to Ian’s decorating tastes. “While Ian’s favourite piece of furniture – his Eames chair – will set the mood for the stand, this will certainly not be your conventional all-leather, heavy brown set-up,” she explains. “There will be accents of Ian’s chosen colours – blue, orange and red – and, because he is a true gadget junkie, we’ll include functional furnishings that play up his tech toys.”
Celebrity credentials aside, however, what’s arguably the best thing about the Top Man feature is the fact that public and corporate proceeds from this exciting installation will go to the charity of each celebrity’s choosing. What’s more, by voting for their favourite ‘Top Man’ and donating towards his earmarked charity, visitors stand the chance of winning tiles from The Tile Gallery to the value of R30 000. And the Top Man with the most funds raised will receive an additional R 5 000 from Decorex SA for his chosen charity, plus the chance to win the sought-after Big Green Egg and a dinner cooked for him and his friends by a mystery celebrity chef, a prize worth R28 000!
Don’t miss the new Top Man feature at Decorex Joburg 2016 – four very unique designer-approved spaces, some for work, some for living and some for pure play, but all guaranteed to dazzle visitors with a charm as diverse as the personalities who have inspired them.
Decorex Joburg details:
Decorex Joburg: 5 – 9 August 2016
Time: 1pm to 6pm
Time: 10am – 6pm
Ticket prices: R110 for adults; R90 for pensioners and students; R80 for trade; R20 for kids under 12
Venue: Gallagher Convention Centre
Trade-only preview morning: 5 August 10am-1pm
Trade focused day: 5 August
To register as trade or to find out more about the trade programme visit www.decorex.co.za
Decorex Joburg forms part of the Decorex SA portfolio and is owned by the Reed Exhibitions.