DESIGN SHADOW: INTERNATIONAL WORK IN AFRICA, PART SIX

To see the first posting on this series go here

Today went by fast. We started early and headed to a stone supplier and fabricator and looked at the range of stone slabs that come out of the Africa, called “African Range.” We have selected one of these for the project. We also have a manufactured quartz in the project made by Caesarstone. This company makes product for the US market, but they also have it in Africa, however it has their own color selections. I selected some samples to take back with me to see if one would work on the project.

Next we went to meet with an Opera/Auditorium seating manufacturer that is made here called Rodlin. This was one item I was doubtful we would be able to source out of Africa and would be required to specify from one of our standard USA seating manufacturers. The client is going to be really happy to find them, with the hope to do more work in Africa after this project. They also have some other classroom furniture that can transform from a desk to a chair and vice-versa – some of which I haven’t seen a comparable to in the US market. They will be a great resource for my higher education clients.

In the afternoon we went to a fabric supplier that our local consultant uses. They had great resources and work with many fabric Mills that some of our US suppliers get fabric from as well. With fabric and furniture being supplied from South Africa, we can avoid shipping products through US and African customs.

Our last business stop for the day was to another tile show room. I am still short on options for the Restrooms. I think I have an idea, but it is still a gamble. The tiles here are mainly from Europe, which is OK, but the overall design and sizing doesn’t fall in the style/look we are going for.

The final stop of the day before flying out, was to a local African Goods boutique. They had everything from jewelry and rugs to tribal masks and carved statues. I got some great gifts and souvenirs to take back to Utah.

I have enjoyed Johannesburg and its neighboring areas. It is interesting how it is a whole different world than Abidjan Africa. It makes sense that it would since they are so far apart, but it isn’t until you see it, that you realize that all Africa is not the same. Its largest influence is Danish and English with Afrikaans and other local cultures all around you. I had no idea that there are 11 official languages there in South Africa. It keeps things diverse and interesting!

Traveling to areas like this for work doesn’t just improve my career experience, but it also opens my eyes to what is beyond my everyday perspective. It deepens the understanding, adds richness to life and makes me more aware of the blessings we have living here in the USA.

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