Deanne Viljoen: Playing with furniture

The owner of De Steyl tells us about the furniture design studio's shift to creating modular furniture that invites the user to intertact with it.

Deánne Viljoen is an architect who fell in love with furniture design 18 years ago. She is the owner of De Steyl, an interior joinery and furniture design company in George. Viljoen believes in the importance of instilling a strong philosophy of design appreciation in her team at De Steyl. “Really understanding the process and design background is how you get a well-designed product that lasts, something that can be passed on for generations,” she says.

Alongside its custom work and residential and hospitality commissions, De Steyl has brought out two collections in collaboration with designer Renée Rossouw of Renée Rossouw Studio.

The modular Play Play collection paired De Steyl’s contemporary furniture with Rossouw’s graphic patterns, printed directly onto raw wood. This evolved into the 2DO Stackable Storage System, an accessible range of stackable storage boxes for the home, office or studio. This latest range of vibrant drawer units mixes bold prints with blocks of colours and natural wood. Annemarie Meintjes, deputy editor of VISI magazine called it “an uncomplicated, practical and fun design” and nominated it as a Most Beautiful Object in South Africa this year.

The 2DO system leaves a lot up to the user, who can customise it according to their tastes and needs. “It’s really amazing when people start stacking things, interchanging drawers and making up their own designs,” says Viljoen.

The design process, she says, shouldn’t end with the finished product. "It's important to me that the process continues with the user."

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