Design >Living 6 – June 2010

DESIGN> LIVING is an online magazine that focuses on the lifestyle aspects of design and interfaces with those who aim to enhance quality of life by creating and living in holistically and eloquently designed environments.

See the article featuring REcreate on pages 72 -78 in issue 6.

‘Queen of Junk’ to ‘Entrepreneur of the Month’ – July 2010

At a time when the earth’s resources are being strained, it’s wonderful to see ‘old rejects’ being given a new lease of life.  This is exactly what Katie Thompson, an innovative, quirky Cape Town designer does

… read more on page 106 & 107 of the July issue of Ideas & Idees Magazine in their Entreprenuer of the Month article. /

Visit our ‘Recreate Lounge’ @ The Fringe Arts new pop up store at THE CAPE CREATIVE EXHIBITION

The Cape Creative Exhibition is a collaboration between the Visual Arts Network SA – Western Cape (VANSA), the Performing Arts Network SA (PANSA), Cape Film Commission, the Africa Centre, the Cape Craft & Design Initiative (CCDI) and The Fringe Arts, in partnership with Indalo Project and the City of Cape Town’s Tourism Department.

This multi-disciplinary exhibition will showcase the creative talent of Cape Town, bringing together selected ranges of craft, design, fine art, film and performing art.

The exhibition will run for the duration of the World Cup, from June 10 until 18 July 2010, in a stunning industrial-style building on 37 Main Road, Greenpoint, next to Mano’s and diagonally opposite the stadium.

The exhibition is open daily from 10:00 to 17:00 as well as for scheduled evening performances.

Recreate Exhibition Opening @ Wessel Snyman Creatives

I will be exhibiting a range of new Recreate pieces at Wessel Snyman Creative, Cape Town alongside sculptures by Elnette Viljoen and jewellery by Marius Koen from 4th – 29th May 2010.

Please join us for the Exhibition Opening on Tuesday 4th May at 19h00. 

Wessel Snyman Creative
17 Bree Street, Cape Town, Tel: 021 418 0980

Gallery Hours: weekdays 10am – 6pm

Decorex 2010, ‘Home Tweet Home’ Design Initiative

Buy Recreate products at ‘The Fringe Art Store’ in the Cape Town City Hall opening 14 March

Design Indaba Exhibition 2011

A creative feast, we loved every minute of it! See images of our exhibition stand at Design Indaba 2011.

Come see Recreate at Design Indaba 26-28 Feb 2010

Lovers Of All Things Vintage…

Please note this event has been canceled until further notice.

Happy V-Day

‘Travelling Furniture’ – Fashion Week Daily, January 2010

Fashion Week Daily: Chic Report
Travelling Furniture


Don’t you wish you could just fold up your bed and take it with you wherever you go? While these suitcase chairs, created by the quirky mind of Katie Thompson, may not exactly be adequate storage for your shoe collection, they are the perfect place to relax after throwing your actual luggage on the ground and unwinding after a long plane ride home. We have a special soft spot for the White Samsonite chair with timber turned legs and upholstered in linen. Très jolie! To inquire about these comfy creation and their respective pricing, visit Recreate. (14 January 2010)

The Suitcase Chair featured on the 3rings Product Blog – January 2010

Suitcase Chair by Katie Thompson
By Alicita Rodriguez on Friday, January 15th, 2010

White Samsonite suitcase chair- white linen, floral deep button - suitcase detail 1 (1)

South African designer Katie Thompson is a woman after my own heart. I was taken with her the moment I read her website’s anonymous epigram: “It is more comfortable to be mad and know it than to be sane and have one’s doubts.” She may have a screw loose—if that’s what we’re to take from this quotation—but the condition works for her. Thompson began her furniture, interior design, and consulting firm Recreate after graduating from Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town. Creator of Extra Ordinary Recycled Furniture, Thompson admits she’s a “hoarder of all things useless, impractical, broken, colourful and shiny” (which is more than I can say for my mother-in-law, who has the same condition without acknowledging it—how many jars of buttons does one actually need?). Thankfully, Thompson’s designs takes the old in a new direction, showing “tell tale signs of her Dadaist leanings.”

An old suitcase stirs up the wanderlust in all of us and retains a nostalgic power as if it were a talisman—hence, its prominence in recent designs of note (see A Pile of Suitcases). Recently featured in the December 2009 issue of House & Leisure, Recreate’s Suitcase Chair stuffs a classic tufted chair inside a beaten up old Samsonite shell. Upholstered in 100% white linen, Suitcase Chair sits on whitewashed timber turned legs. If you have doubts about its sturdiness, cast away your fears: the internal structure is reinforced steel. The piece indeed brings together “South African craftsmanship with high end finishes and her own eclectic perfectionist flair.” I have the perfect candidate for Thompson’s Suitcase Chair: a friend of mine who is haunted by a recurring dream in which she lives in a cult where everyone sleeps in suitcases.

The suitcase chair featured in German blog ‘Rotstuhl’ – January 2010

Suitcase Chair von Katie Thompson
Written by {ROTSTUHL}. Posted on January 14, 2010

Der Suitcase Chair von Katie Thompson ist ein alter Koffer der wirklich mal auf großer Reise war. Dieser wurde dann mit einem Stahlgestell im Inneren versehen und mit kegelförmigen Beinen aus Holz. Darüber wurde eine Posterung mit verschiedenen Bezügen gebaut. So wurde aus jedem Koffer ein Unikat.

[Translation: The Suitcase Chair is an old suitcase that has been on a really big tour. This suitcase has a steel frame put into it and has bowling pin wooden legs attached to it, and after that it’s upholstered in different materials. Out of this every suitcase becomes unique.]

‘What’s Now: Greenhouse’ – House & Leisure, December 2009

‘[The Suitcase Chair] illustrates how unwanted household items can be transformed into something covetable with a little imagination.’ House & Leisure.
Suitcase Chairs from R4 500.

Katie is interviewed in the USA based ‘Davison – invention development’ blog


Designer interview: Katie Thompson
December 18, 2009

Katie is a South African interior designer who started Recreate, a repurposed range of furniture and lighting, in February 2009. By blending South African craftsmanship with high-end finishes and items of unused or discarded junk, she has created an original end product with a new integrity that epitomizes the very best of South African design.

Explain to readers how you arrived in the design world creating furniture and accessories.
After studying interior design at the most fabulous school in Cape Town (Design Time School of Interior Design), I worked in the Interior Design industry with fabrics and furniture for 7 years. I was always drawn to the conceptual and creative side of design. This, and the fact that I am a hoarder at heart with a love of junk, naturally led me to this area of design.

At what point did you realize you were a designer; what was the experience that seemed to be a defining moment?
My second job after leaving design school was working for Roger Martin Architects and Interior Design. I was involved in the design of a Thai Restaurant, Kitima. On the first day of installation, three delivery trucks arrived with glass. Roger Martin (the Principal Architect and Designer)said, ‘So Katie, where do you want the glass to go?’

What appeal does Cape Town have to a designer as far as cultural influences, local artisans and available materials.
Designers in Cape Town are spoiled for choice when it comes to cultural influences. We are able to bring together various elements of these diverse cultures to create hybrid works. I am interested in the extremes of the art world and enjoy combining high-end art works with grassroots level artistic influences.

furniture design milk bottle lamp design

You have shown there is a wealth of used objects such as suitcases, cookware and household items. What recycled medium do you look forward to using in creating more work based on reused objects in the future?
I don’t usually source an item of junk for a specific function. It is usually the other way around, as the junk tells me what it wants to become in its next life!

I love being able to look at an item of ordinary junk, for example, someone else’s trash, be it broken, old or discarded and see a new function through it. Rummaging through garages, storage rooms, old warehouses and the garbage tip allows me to source endless recycled materials.

To whom do you attribute your sense of style and aesthetic? Is there any particular art movement or artist you consider an influence?
Dadaism and Surrealism have been major influences on my work. I studied Art & Art History in school and remember being quite disinterested most of the time until the day we learned about the absurdity of Surrealism and Dadaism. These movements influenced the artworks I was making and allowed me to extend the conceptual boundaries of my work.

The most influential artist I have come across is Marcel Duchamp who signed a urinal and declared it art. I love the questioning behind this. Why should an artwork be on canvas with a brush and paint? Who determines what form a chair should be? Why not a suitcase? Can an old Hoover not be a fully functioning lamp?

What is one thing you had to learn out of school about designing; something only experience could lend?
Experience has taught me to avoid over designing.

What is your approach to incorporating ergonomics using found objects? What is compromised when it comes down to it – visual appeal or comfort?
Ultimately all of my products have a new function from their previous purpose. So if The Suitcase Chair is not comfortable, or the Milk Bottle Lamp is not shining then the products are not functioning.

They are also designed as high-end recycled furniture items. The same quality fitting you would buy at a high-end lighting store is used on The Milk Bottle Lamp. Similarly, the foam, fabric and upholstery techniques used on a high end quality armchair are used on the suitcase chair.

That said, they are occasional chairs and are not designed for curling up with a blanket and watching a movie.

How do approach designing; is it collaborative, do you have a daily routine, do you sketch very much?
Like most creative minds, mine does not follow a linear process but functions more like a washing machine. It is a process of perpetual conceptualization and turbulent creative thinking. I cannot paint, or draw and I can barely sketch. I scribble. And my handwriting resembles hieroglyphics.

Share your advice for people wanting to bring their creative thoughts into tangible objects?
Nothing is impossible except falling upwards!

Design your own custom-made Suitcase Chair

At Recreate, discarded old suitcases take on a new life as comfy chairs. Each chair is custom-made with a steel-reinforced internal structure, complementary fabric and hand-crafted legs.

We have an existing range of ready-made chairs to choose from, or you can create your own unique design from our collection of found suitcases.  Alternatively you can bring us your old sentimental suitcases to be recreated into comfy functional artworks…

Happy Holidays!

  1. Pages:
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. 5
  7. 6
  8. 7
  9. 8