"There is something about African style that appeals across time and continents. The roots are inextricably African - which is a large part of its charm - but in recent years a new wave of designers have taken those roots, kept the glamour and something of the nostalgia, but injected contemporary sophistication into the mix"- Lucia Van Der Post, The Times, UK, 2002
The introduction of Noleen's collection to the global market is a timely one. South African contemporary design - together with new directions in African furniture and African home decor - has been one of the hottest trends in the high-end home furnishings market across the globe. Phases Africa's collection takes that trend further, and introduces a brand new contemporary African style to global markets. It is an exciting mix of the "old" - Africa's rich tribal and European colonial heritage - combined with the "new" - sophisticated African custom-made furniture and home furnishings from some of South Africa's leading contemporary designers. These African inspired furniture pieces frequently spotted in Africa's top hotels and safari lodges consist of; hide and leather benches, daybeds and chairs, as well as, ostrich skin couches and wingback chairs, handmade cowhide rugs and furniture, wood dining room tables, servers, side tables and outdoor chairs. Sourcing the goods for Phases Africa's collection is an ongoing quest for that special piece of unusual beauty, fine workmanship and materials of the highest quality. "My aim has been to find items that are not readily available, that blend in well with a contemporary look and also with more traditional styles of design". For instance our African Home Decor line consist of a large variety of unique items; African art, driftwood furniture and women figure sculptures, wood turner vases, and tall collectable ceramic vases by top South African artists. Bamileke stools from Cameroon, hand carved from a single tree trunk, wooden hand-carved tall figures know as colonial figures, street wire outdoor furniture and telephone wire baskets. And let's not forget, our unique lighting fixtures ranging from; ostrich egg shell chandeliers including standing lamps, wall sconces made from horns and porcupine quills, zebra skin lampshades, recycled glass chandeliers, as well as, bamboo friendly contemporary hanging lights", explains Noleen.
Noleen Kutash travels widely in South Africa and other African countries sourcing her range. A buying trip might involve visiting craft-workers in isolated country regions, seeking out sculptors or wood workers. She frequently meets with leading furniture designers in Johannesburg and Cape Town to perfect the accelerating fusion of her homeland's rich cultural heritage with contemporary design.
The result is Phases Africa - a collection that combines a sophisticated contemporary design aesthetics in the organic and timeless beauty of Africa's tribal and colonial legacy.
Read this article on African Interior Design Ideas - Featuring Noleen Kutash
During my extended stay in Florence, Italy, in 2000 and 2001, I became a Medici “groupie” while studying the Italian Renaissance. At the time, little did I know that one day I would find myself standing at the door of such a movement in my country of birth, South Africa. Upon my return to the U.S.. in August of that same year, a friend of mine in Los Angeles with a highly successful home furnishing store asked if I would consider going to South Africa to explore the prospects of finding a new look for her store.
I had no experience in this field; however, I packed my bags, and set forth on a talent hunting expedition. Once embarked on this journey, I never looked back, for I found a renewed “kinder spirit” in South Africa and its people, known as the "rainbow nation". What I found at the end of this rainbow was a pot of gold, and it was not the kind of gold we are most known for. This was a melting pot of untapped creative talent; finally I had my opportunity to give back to Africa. This is how I became a “talent scout” in Africa and created my business, Phases Africa, in 2001. I have been observing the continuing growth of this creative movement, called the “African Renaissance, “so coined by former South African president, Thabo Mbeki
I source my products all over Africa, literally as far as Timbuktu, where I buy from the Tuareg people, who are nomads living in the desert. These artisans work with goat skin leather and use an ancient technique in tooling the leather. South African safari lodges and hotels generally only use African products and have been consistently rated amongst the world’s top hundred hotels, in the most prestigious of publications year after year. Phases Africa obtains their products directly from the artisans responsible for the interiors of these luxurious hotels.