To walk into a furniture store and be greeted by a gentle waft of leather is an experience which only promises quality encounters with the products on offer. At Incanda Furniture, this is the exact experience you receive. The furniture store’s Gauteng branch was recently launched at Menlyn Maine in Pretoria. Located in the basement parking of this contemporarily designed complex; the rich darkness of the surroundings aids in highlighting the importance of the creative integrity you’ll find inside the store.
Incanda, meaning “Porcupine” in Xhosa, was started in the early 2000’s by Gerhard van Denventer. From humble beginnings at a farm near Swellendam, in the Southern Cape, Gerhard has managed to establish 4 successful outlets in South Africa.
This sharp business mind with an equal taste in design and craftsmanship, let Hot Lifestyle pick his brain on Incanda and find out about a few of his favourite items.
Hot Lifestyle: There is an increased interest in interior design all over the globe at present. Most notably, the influence of Scandinavian design is evident in many products from leading studios across the globe; what would you say makes Incanda uniquely South African?
Gerhard van Denventer: Incanda has a distinct “modern organic” look. This means that while the design and functionality of our furniture pieces are distinctly modern, we do not try to build a perfect piece without any natural blemishes. So our wood may have knots in or our leather may have scratches and tick bites in. It is our way of telling the world, that our furniture is real, that our raw materials comes from our beautiful countryside, where the the elements take it’s toll. This combination of “modern” and “organic” often takes our customers by surprise at first, but once they see that all our furniture looks like this, they fall in love with the authenticity
HL: Incanda offers its clients priceless decorating advice/assistance: what would you say is key to incorporating new, modern furniture into the home – without leaving it with a cold hotel-like feel?
GvD: The most important part of any decorating project is to understand the people who will be living there – who they are, their values and pleasures in life. This translates into your taste for the aesthetic and ultimately your furniture choice. If you are an outdoor person, who can think of nothing cooler than to visit the Kgalagadi to see its many birds of prey, you will probably have a totally different “feel” for your furniture than someone who loves jetsetting and prefer a package holiday with all the amenities. It may sound a bit airy fairy, but that is why we always start by asking: “First tell me a bit about yourself”
HL: At the launch of your Gauteng outlet you mentioned that there are currently no plans to expand drastically across the country; why is this?
GvD: I have a very focused vision of becoming the best upmarket furniture company in South Africa. I think being the best and being the largest are most probably mutually exclusive.
HL: Which (Incanda) furniture pieces and accessories are an absolute must have right now?
GvD: Our Painter’s bench and Waterfall Side tables. Both pieces are playfull, utilising off-cuts from the factory and thus reducing our carbon footprint. Our customers simply love it.
Waterfall Side Table, from R1 400
HL: Why do you feel it is important to allow clients the opportunity to customize their purchases?
GvD: Because one size does not fit all. I have seen many times how two people would sit on the same couch and the one would love it and the other would hate it. Changing one small detail can sometimes make all the difference to the client. Besides, if we all get to choose our jean cut and size why not also our furniture!
Text: Kwanele Kunene
Images: Lyla Illing