By removing unnecessary clatter that squeezes out fresh air and natural light; ornaments and coverings that conceal the true building substance; and unnecessary pomp that contributes little to the user’s spatial experience and burdens the building’s carbon footprint, German-American architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) was one of the first architects to take the minimalist art movement of the 1940s and translate it into minimalist architectural design.
Less is more.
"South Africa–and the world–had been pushed into the 4th Industrial Revolution, and there was no going back. HF Design was born."
And so began my personal obsession with this design principal as a professional architect turned communication facilitator turned community worker over the next 22 years in Switzerland, India, Poland, Singapore, Germany and South Africa; and as stuff–and pomp–continues to consume and destroy our Western lives, so our longing for simplicity and inner peace continues to grow.
Then Covid-19 hit, and changed our world forever. On 26 March 2020, President Ramaphosa placed South Africa onto three weeks of national (hard) lockdown, so as to curb the spread of this new disease, and within a week, all plans were cancelled, home offices set up overnight, and school-going kids sent home. For the next 35 days, all South Africans (with the exception of essential workers) were forbidden to leave their homes, unless they required groceries or medical attention.
With the abrupt transition of my pre-school daughter and Grade 2 son to “school-at-home”, my architectural home office was turned into a classroom from Monday to Friday, while I continued to juggle design work evenings and weekends. By June 2020, we knew we were in for the long-haul, and temporary home offices and kids’ workspaces needed to become more permanet as we moved into the “new normal”.
South Africa–and the world–had been pushed into the 4th Industrial Revolution, and there was no going back. HF Design was born.
"We want to create child-friendly workspaces in each South African home, that help our children focus on the work-at-hand, while encouraging creativity and fun."
With a love for Africa, and a love for children, my husband and I have taken our design and industrial know-how and come up with an adjustable children’s desk and chair that is flexible, simple and local. We want to create child-friendly workspaces in each South African home, that help our children focus on the work-at-hand, while encouraging creativity and fun.
HF Design is flexible. The ENZOKUHLE children’s workspace collection is based on a modular design that can be adjusted according to your child’s personal need and stage of development. The ENZOKUHLE desk and bench can be adjusted to three different heights, allowing for your pre-school child to use the table through primary to high school years–it literally grows with the child. The tiltable desk top creates a clean work surface for your child, while promoting healthy hand and wrist positioning. For older children, a separate ENZOKUHLE tablet/phone stand can be purchased, for ease of use. Those requiring additional workspace for books or digital equipment can purchase the ENZOKUHLE upper or lower desk extension. A personalised backrest can also be added to the ENZOKUHLE children’s bench, for those who prefer leaning while learning.
HF Design is simple. The ENZOKUHLE children’s workspace collection boasts clean lines and natural colours, to help your child focus on the task-at-hand, without compromising the collection’s ergonomic benefits. The MELOKUHLE pencil holder is neutral and user-friendly, while the ENZOKUHLE deskmat and ENZOKUHLE mousepad add colour with function. For those who prefer a more personalised look, upper desk extensions and backrests can be purchased in pink, blue or digital design. Anything that does not add to the authenticity and functionality of the product is removed, without compromising its aesthetic appeal.
HF Design is local. We want to reduce our carbon footprint by using only local, natural products and materials in our designs, and we seek to boast the local economy by providing jobs for local artisans only. Our children deserve quality workspace furniture that is flexible, simple and local.
Less is more.
Henriette Frohlich is a professional architect, who is passionate about creating child-friendly workspaces that are accessible to all. She is the founder of HF Design, a small startup in Centurion, Gauteng, that is flexible, simple and local. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 072 734 6904.