With an illustrious career spanning global recognition and prestigious collaborations, Tristan du Plessis embodies a fusion of creativity, sustainability, and cultural narrative in his designs.

We asked Tristan, as our acclaimed as Designer of the Year for Decorex Africa and 100% Design, to share insights into his journey, philosophy, and aspirations in an exclusive interview.  Reflecting on his career trajectory, he recalled the pivotal moments that propelled him from a fledgling designer to an industry trailblazer. From the bold decision to establish his studio at 27, to securing prestigious international projects, each milestone has shaped his evolution as a designer with a global footprint.

Photography by Natelee Cocks

These are some of the key takeaways from our conversation:


Design Ethos

My design ethos revolves around the ethos of 'why not?'—a philosophy rooted in embracing innovation and emotional resonance. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of tailoring each project to its unique narrative, steering clear personal style in favour of creating immersive experiences that resonate with users on a profound level.


Sustainability and Ethical Design

While acknowledging the challenges of integrating sustainability within budget constraints, I champion a collaborative approach that engages local artisans and communities. By incorporating ethical considerations into my projects, I hope to create a more sustainable and inclusive design ecosystem.


Proud Projects:

SAN Beach in Dubai as a testament to my design philosophy—a contemporary African beach club that redefines luxury through soulful expression and cultural resonance. Collaborating with African artisans and designers, I curated a space that celebrates Africa's rich artistic heritage while captivating a global audience.


Influence and Recognition

I see my recent accolades are affirmations of his mission to transcend stylistic and geographical boundaries through design. I am very grateful for the recognition, and proud to represent South Africa on a global stage, creating collaborations that resonate with a diverse audience worldwide.

Photography by Natelee Cocks

Looking ahead, du Plessis envisions a future where design transcends boundaries, integrating technology seamlessly to enhance guest experiences. With an upcoming hotel project in Dubai, he is poised to explore new frontiers in design innovation.

In a poignant reflection, du Plessis shared moments of clarity amidst the chaos of deadlines—a reminder that great design requires dedication and perseverance. Embracing the journey of creation, he finds fulfilment in the fusion of time, effort, and inspiration.

He envisions design as a catalyst for addressing global challenges, from sustainability to social equity and well-being. By championing ethical practices and cultural narratives, he believes designers can shape a more inclusive and sustainable future.

Tristan du Plessis's journey exemplifies the transformative power of design—a testament to creativity, collaboration, and unwavering passion. As he continues to redefine the boundaries of innovation and elegance, his legacy serves as an inspiration for aspiring designers around the globe.

Photography by Natelee Cocks