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Contemporary South African Architecture And Interior Design

Happily sitting with the curtains or blinds open long into the night I find lingering by a window gazing at the twinkling lights of the city at night, or snatching glimpses of the world going about its day is one of life’s simple pleasures. And is probably the reason that when it comes to contemporary architectural features; an expanse of glass giving the illusion of having no walls, just floor to ceiling windows in the form of movable glass doors is a dream feature. Opened or closed as you wish, glass walls are a stunning feature that work to seamlessly blend exterior and interior living spaces, opening up the interior by letting in amounts of natural light and capitalising on magnificent panoramic views if you are lucky enough to have them. Although some disagree with me, this is a feature that is well suited to hot climates where interiors call for airyness and natural cooling systems that come with rolling back the doors to allow the cool breezes to waft through whilst enjoying the night air. Being able to completely open up the walls allows you to fully enjoy and interact with your living space. It was the abundance of glass and skylights that grabbed my attention whilst perusing the online portfolio of Okha, a leading South African interior design company, who specialise in creating the kind of covetable homes gracing the pages of glossy lifestyle mags.
[Image credit: First Crescent – Okha]

Designed to maximise the spectacular views surrounding them, the homes shown here were designed by Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects – SAOTA, a contemporary South African architecture practice and feature stylish interiors created by Okha. Following the principles of less is more, Okha is about defining new standards in luxury African living, and their interior solutions result in stylish havens for the demanding standards of luxury modern living.
[Image credit: Nettleton 199 – Okha / SAOTA]
The sprawling spaces are accentuated with high quality materials and surface finishes in a style of decor that is minimalist yet quite warm. Minimalist interiors can often come across as cold and impersonal but here I pick up a sense of calm and tranquility and could quite happily spend my days perched on a chair under the skylight like the one on the Fresnaye property. In addition to interior design Okha supports selected South African artists, craftspeople and suppliers working in partnership to design and produce high quality furniture and objects that can compete on the international stage, as well as being used to adorn the spaces they create.
[Image credits: top, Fresnaye – Okha / SAOTA; centre and bottom, SAOTA]
The innovative, often sculptural designs of the buildings are characteristic of the SAOTA style, which sees steel supports softened by natural and organic materials like wood. An award winning practice that was formed by Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, Greg Truen, the company has a global reach having designed public and residential buildings in places that include Geneva, Switzerland, draws on the best talent to help realise their visions.

…reaching the heights of contemporary African architecture in luxury stylish homes

Additional details:
For further information about Okha visit:
For further information about Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects visit:

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  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

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Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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