Progressive creative director Bielle Bellingham to curate Decorex Africa Reimagined

With incredible design projects such as curating Littlegig 24H Festival and editing a major decor magazine under her belt, Bielle Bellingham’s next project has been unveiled: Decorex Africa 2022. Bellingham will steer the Decorate section of the Cape Town and Joburg shows and 100% Design Africa, together with the contribution of esteemed local architect Theo Bothma, who will curate the Build section of the shows.

When asked about the “why” of her involvement with RX Africa’s dynamically recharged exhibition platform, Bellingham enthuses: “I am beyond passionate about the role of art and design as catalysts for positive change. Having spent the majority of my career serving the one percent who can afford exceptional design, I now want to champion making decor and design relevant and accessible to everyone – in a format that reinvigorates, reorganises and commercialises change in the industry.”

On the forefront of decor, design and lifestyle trends for almost three decades, Decorex Africa is poised to ignite the country’s top-performing cities – Johannesburg and Cape Town – with fresh vision and purpose. Using the radical power of curation and combining exceptional content with hard-working mechanics, the brand is transforming into a hybrid marketplace and growth accelerator in which its investment in virtual infrastructure will drive client growth 24/7.

“We’re on a mission to find better ways to produce and consume things in the future,” she says, “by rethinking how we do things today. Because we have greater control over our work in the design niche than we’ve ever had in the past, we need to design for people’s needs – not their wants. My role as a curator, I believe, includes portraying the extent to which living sustainably has shifted from a concern to a commandment; and that both access to nature and the freedom to live and work as we see fit – which has been granted to millions – needs now to become a possibility for millions more.”

Bellingham advises that her favoured approach for reimagining the show will revolve around the “build in public” practice. This premises the need to take an audience along for the ride as a product or service is developed, thereby opening each artist up to constructive criticism.

“By beginning with the notion ‘I’m building something here, what do you think?’ – a level of openness is brought to the creative process. The African proverb ‘Fast alone, further together’ very much sets an artist up for ultimate success.”

Bellingham is a design specialist with a vision. “I admire beauty, but also recognise its lunacy,” she smiles. “And I recognise that creativity is a force, a burden and an absolute privilege; I value both intuition and interrogation.”

Few realise the responsibility placed in the hands of Bothma and Belligham. “We are attempting to open up the show to more than just the usual suspects; we want to create an event that is relevant and accessible to the everyone,” she advises. “The next generation of designers, entrepreneurs and policy makers must reframe our nuanced, local realities; and reimagine the potential and power of business to create meaningful change. Essentially, we don’t need more unnecessary stuff – we need to do way more with much less.”

We trust that Bellingham’s content curation, tone-setting and exhibitor-vetting will unleash the best-in-class - not just aesthetically, but with a view to how this will contribute towards a more sustainable and ethical future.