Destination Johannesburg: Interior Designer Stephen Falcke

Interviews | 11th Oct 2017

World-renowned interior designer Stephen Falcke has travelled the globe to lend his flair and creativity to a wide range of esteemed projects – including the Saxon itself. A lifelong Jo’burger, he tells us about his design inspiration and his passion for Johannesburg and South Africa.

How long have you been in Johannesburg?
I’ve lived in Johannesburg my whole life. I think Johannesburg people are a passionate people, and they love the city. And we have this wonderful climate, one of the best in the world.

Has interior design always been a passion for you?
Yes, interior design has always been my life. I’ve been very lucky that I’ve travelled the world working all over, but I love coming home. This is where I belong.

How did you approach designing the Saxon?
This hotel started off as a home, then developed and became the Saxon. I wanted something that was African but wanted to take ‘African’ into a new sphere, a more sophisticated, urban idiom. And so, the Saxon was developed. It’s really stood the test of time – it’s still so popular, still winning awards, it’s an icon. It has a special place in my heart.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s from things that are free; I love the sun, water, sand. Organic materials from the environment, indigenous gardens – things that are truly South African.

What are your thoughts on Johannesburg’s regeneration?
There’s something electric, something passionate, about what’s going on. The food has improved in the last 10 years, there are beautiful shopping centres and more people are travelling. There’s been a revival back into town – there are new areas that have been developed, wonderful art, exciting things that I’m still learning about – I don’t have enough time to see it all!

Where would you go for a dose of art or culture?
Everard Read and Circa
, the Goodman Gallery, and there’s a shop everyone has to go to called Amatuli.

Any favourite interior design shops?
We used to go all over the world to Europe and America, but now South Africa is top of my list for inspiration. There are wonderful shops like Weylandts, La Grange, @home.

Would you say the South African design scene is becoming internationally renowned?
It is. I’ve been the patron of Decorex, it’s a big exhibition that’s held all over the world, but the Johannesburg one has amazing crafts. People come from all over the world to buy and see what is locally made here.

For those with a passion for design, are there any spots in or around Johannesburg that you would recommend?
There’s a sculpture garden called Nirox which is wonderful to go and see.

Do you have any favourite items for a scheme?
I love baskets and weaving, as well as beading.

Where would you go for a drink or dinner in Johannesburg?
There are so many places, just not enough time. Marble has a lovely view, and there’s Tasha’s, Life, Glenda’s is nearby and you can have great food.

Is there anything you still have to do or see in South Africa?
I’ve been working and travelling for 35 years, but what I really want to do is to just get in a car and drive all over South Africa. There are so many places that I’d love to explore – like the Karoo.

Three words to describe Johannesburg?
Energy, passion and style.


Learn more about Stephen Falcke and his work on his website: www.stephenfalcke.co.za

Decorex returns to Johannesburg in August 2018.


The Saxon is on hand to arrange a wide array of tours for guests, such as Johannesburg art gallery tours or a private appointment at Nirox Sculpture Garden.


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