Committed to the provision of commercially-effective solutions for the Hospitality, Commercial, Retail and Leisure sectors, Inhouse places equal emphasis on conceptualisation, implementation and budgetary constraints. With an established track record spanning over 30 years, Aidan Hart and Lawrence Holmes founded Inhouse in 2002, delivering 15 Years of Design Excellence for their clients. Inhouse is now one of the most comprehensive design consultancies in South Africa, where Aidan Hart and Phillip Wyatt lead as Directors. Expanding from offices in Cape Town to Johannesburg and London, Inhouse has an ever-growing list of high profile projects in the Interior Design Industry in South Africa and abroad.
Africanism sat down with Aidan Hart to find out more about this acclaimed design company.
Where did you study, and what qualifications did you receive?
I studied a BTech in Architectural Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology
How was the practice formed and how has it evolved since its beginnings?
Inhouse was established in 2002 by Lawrence Holmes, who approached me to join him as a partner at the start of the business. From small beginnings the company has steadily grown into a locally and internationally renowned design agency, and we look forward to further growth.
What first sparked your interest in architecture?
I have always had a creative eye, and enjoyed the concept of design, not just in architecture, but in all design-related disciplines. Studying architecture gave me access to design on the highest level but also allowed me to work on other aspects of the design process.
What was your first completed project, and your thoughts looking back on it?
I worked in Hong Kong for a couple of years and completed several projects in mainland China, such as shopping centres. I also worked on the National University of Singapore Club, a design that was entirely mine. I was very proud walking around the completed project. Locally, one of the first jobs I completed with Inhouse was 95 Keerom Street, a well-known Italian Restaurant in Cape Town’s City Centre and something that still looks great today.
What awards has the firm won?
Inhouse has won several Loerie awards (Gold and Silver), a Lion award at Cannes Lions and a Popai award. You can find the full list of our awards on our website: www.inhouse.ws
Which architects have had and do have an influence on you and your work?
There are several world-renowned architects I look up to from a business perspective, and companies that have managed to grow the architectural practice as a professional business while maintaining a level of creativity, essentially being able to balance business, operational and creative requirements. I have great respect for Stefan Antoni and SAOTA. The quality and level of their projects continue to impress me.
What do you believe differentiates you from other practices?
Inhouse is an agency that concentrates primarily on delivering design-orientated projects. We work hard at removing any ‘cookie-cutter’ features or ‘cut-and-paste’ versions of previous designs, challenging ourselves to make every project unique.
What would you rate as your top projects, and why were these chosen?
I don’t think I can rate single projects out of the extensive list we’ve worked on, as each one has had its own successes, as well as challenges that we’ve managed to overcome.
What are you currently working on and what do you have in store for the next twelve months?
The company is partly focused on upmarket residential work, while continuing work on properties for various sized clients – ranging from boutique designs to large commercial projects.
What about African architecture inspires you?
Design is derived from several factors and is not necessarily a regional solution. There are regional and national leaders who help guide architectural design in Africa and these are often as a result of the climate, or the context, or the community they are being developed for.
How has the world of architecture changed since the practice came into being?
Architecture and design have changed fundamentally with regard to the way designs are produced and reviewed, from new technology such as 3D modelling and printing, material selection, and the opportunities around the types of materials that can be used in the design market. In addition, the technology of machining these materials constantly changes the way that we are able to express our designs.
Where do you see architecture going in the next decade?
It would be presumptuous to estimate what will happen in the next ten years, when several of the technological changes that exist today did not even exist five years ago. I think architecture and the principles of design will continue to change as the technology and resources used in the design process become available. Design will always be a cornerstone of humanity, and being able to create designs that are human-interface-driven are paramount to our service.