For the second time, HOMEMAKERS Expo has partnered with the University of Pretoria (UP) in the creation of the theme for next year’s show. The partnership tasked UP’s third year Information Design students to come up with a visual design concept that would become the theme for HOMEMAKERS Expo 2020. This year the winning design went to Dian Labuschagne with InHabit.

As part of their studies, the project once again gave the students an opportunity to gain experience on pitching their vision to a large organisation. The students could ultimately see their designs come to life through the visual designs, decor and focus of HOMEMAKERS Expo 2020. Continuing partnerships and collaboration with young designers helps HOMEMAKERS Expo stay at the forefront of trends. It also provides a platform for students to showcase their ideas at a national event. A total of R6000 is awarded to the top three designers chosen by HOMEMAKERS and UP’s Information Design lecturers.

We asked Dian a few questions to find out more about his design.

How did the idea for InHabit come about? What was the main inspiration?

I tend to pull inspiration from all parts of everyday life and end up merging them in a fun and eclectic way. This campaign was no different, after being briefed and assessing the deliverables, I decided to present something that is familiar but simultaneously new and exciting. 

As part of the campaign identity, I chose the celebrity personality (and a personal role model) Alexander McQueen as a big influence for the overall identity of InHabit. Particularly pulling inspiration from some of McQueen’s later work that had a futuristic, yet romantic approach to people and their relationship with nature. McQueen’s work was experimental and adventurous, but managed to uphold an underlying structure and modernity, something that I idealised in his work.

Lastly I have to thank nature of course! There is an abundance of inspiration that emerges around you when you keep an open mind. Go on a hike or go to the beach, its amazing what beautiful shapes, colours and patterns you start noticing when you search for new perspectives.

What does InHabit mean to you?

InHabit for me, means familiarity. In my opinion, anyone can live in a space, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they make these spaces their homes. I strongly believe there is a difference between a house and a home. A house is merely a structure that is occupied, a home the other hand, is where you’re comfortable and where you can relax and feel safe. Sure, you can live anywhere, but you can only InHabit the space you call your home.

How does InHabit link to current and future trends? 

InHabit uses a lot of natural elements. Nature being a fountain of inspiration that, in my opinion, is a timeless entity. This timelessness is great, because it gives us as creative individuals the ability to use it in virtually any way without ever depleting the possibilities it has to offer. Things that we perceive as “modern” and “futuristic” in today’s society share a surprising amount of natural and organic qualities. Just take a look at Afrofuturism. The latest trends in architecture, fashion and sculpture incorporates the sublime of nature. Why should home decor and design be any different? In fact, I’d argue home decor and design are the leaders in trend setting!

Why should people InHabit spaces?

In today’s everyday life everyone seems to be overworked and stressed, that’s why I believe it is important for people to have a place that they can retire to at the end of the day and be able to kick off their shoes, unwind and recharge. And what better place than a home that they can call their own? A home is a representation of its inhabitants, an aesthetic and functional reflection of who you are and what you love.

Where can people get inspiration?

Everywhere really! I’ve noticed that you seem to find it where you’d least expect it. As long as you’re willing to keep an open mind and explore new angles, inspiration isn’t far behind. Although nature is a great starting point that never ceases to inspire, try taking inspiration from everyday life and mix it up! The world is your oyster and creativity is your pearl. 

What is the core elements for the design?

InHabit aims to eloquently incorporate the sublime of nature seamlessly back into our lifestyle with sustainable materials, kaleidoscopic patterns and versatile colours. 

Sustainable materials:

Focusing on more sustainable yet indulging materials, InHabit strives to give you the feeling of luxury and comfort but without the negative impacts it might cause the environment. Wood, environmentally friendly synthetics, sustainable leather ethics, faux fur, and recycled glass are just some of the materials that you can expect from InHabit.

Kaleidoscopic patterns:

Patterns and geometry are all around us, and InHabit’s geometric and organic patterns proves just that. The mundane can become fresh and new when you turn it around, repeat it and scramble it. The animal kingdom is a great resource for this. From butterfly wing mandalas to psychedelic snake skins.

Versatile colours:

The colours are – you guessed it – natural. But that doesn’t mean its neutral. In fact its bold and its alive. Expect everything from palm leaf green, jellyfish blue and snake skin copper. InHabit offers the versatility of all kinds of colour combinations, ranging from deep luxurious colours to more toned down and professional palettes. 

How can people InHabit their spaces better?

It might sound contradictory, but I believe the best way to InHabit your space successfully is to get out of your personal comfort zone. Nothing ever good came from staying secluded  in a bubble. Get out there and explore the world, the more you experience the more you’ll learn about yourself and what you like or dislike. Once you have an open mind you’ll be more confident and efficient in envisioning and creating your own special space that reflects who you are and what makes you happy. 

You can see InHabit come to life at the 2020 HOMEMAKERS Expos in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town.