How Andrea Graff Designs With Respect For Tradition Through A Contemporary Lens

Launched in 1994, Andrea Graff’s interior design firm has flourished and dazzled us from coast to coast. The firm’s success is a reflection of Andrea’s quirky design ethos, which balances the aesthetic integrity of each project with the needs and personality of the client. Distinguished by a deep respect for tradition filtered through a contemporary lens, Andrea’s mantra is more of a perspective than a definable style. Her design portfolio spans from commercial to residential, from single spaces to entire homes. The approach she takes when creating an interior is one of careful consideration and respect for her clients’ preferences and budgets. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Andrea Graff’s firm amalgamates contemporary design principles that honor the traditions deeply embedded within her. Introducing this week’s Voice of Africa, Andrea Graff.

Reed Davis: How can African design tell the story and preserve the histories of Africans with integrity?
Andrea Graff: African designers can tell their story by being totally proud of their roots and heritage simply by:

  • Being totally honest, upfront and professional in their dealings with foreign companies.
  • Mentoring and uplifting their own communities to become self-sufficient
  • Being obsessed with quality control and the export process
  • Using their history of craft and skill to constantly update and revive their products for an international market.

Reed: How do you see the African design industry evolving?
Andrea: It has already – Africa simply needs more exposure to designers from abroad to visit our continent. And place orders!!! Simple.

Reed: Why is it important to support local artisans?
Andrea: Most of all their talent and skill and quality. Then – the knock-on effect – more people are employed and more chance to move up the “economic ladder.”

Reed: What is one lesson you were taught growing up?
Andrea: NO RISK NO REWARD – and always try and help less fortunate people.

Reed: Where do you find peace?
Andrea: On my bed reading décor and design mags on my Ipad. Plus, sourcing on 1stDibs.

Reed: What is your fondest memory from childhood that inspired where you are today?
Andrea: Working for my late father who had furniture stores- he taught me how to sell and be confident. As well as growing up in a home with parent who has unbelievable style and taste.

Reed: Style (or design) icon?
Andrea: [Besides my father], Iris Apfel- the epitome of individuality and confidence. An unbelievable businesswoman and visionary.

Reed: How would you define your work in three words?
Andrea: Timeless / Layered / Exciting.


Click here to see more of the Voices of Africa series.

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