Most of us seek out photographs of interiors to help us create our dream living spaces at home. This usually means flipping through magazines or searching Google to get ideas for your remodelling or furnishing project. Paul Ten-Bokum, founder of Designbook.co.za, spent so many hours after frustrating hours doing that for his own remodelling project that he decided there must be a better way.
Launched to the public on 14 January 2013, Designbook provides tens of thousands of professionally photographed interiors and exteriors of beautiful South African homes all in one place, painstakingly categorised and keyword tagged to make it easy for interior design and decor enthusiasts to search for inspiration for that new kitchen, bathroom or entertainment area. For those people who are too busy or lack confidence to do DIY décor, the site showcases the work of top interior designers and provides links to contact them directly. The site allows users to create “designbooks”, workspaces for collecting photos and product ideas all in one place.
It doesn’t stop there – want to know where to get that funky couch or Oriental rug, or looking for top shutter suppliers and installers? Designbook has implemented Facebook-like photo tagging technology that links the items in the photos to a product catalogue, allowing the browser to source the products and services to make their design dream a reality. “It is a really fun and intuitive way to discover new products, and early indications are that people are loving the content,” says Paul. In the first month after the launch the site has been visited over 6 000 times by South African users, viewing over 80 000 pages over that period.
What does the future hold for Designbook? Dave Nemeth, leading South African trend forecaster and furniture retail specialist is excited about these latest movements in the online space: “If we look at trends and the rate at which technology is moving, it is no wonder we would want to find products and inspiration all in one place. Designbook has addressed this, with this really exciting online application. I am really looking forward to Designbook's growth and continued innovation.”
Paul says ultimately he would like to see Designbook as a catalyst for the South African interiors industry, supporting a culture of local design, local manufacturing and sustainable practices. “We have so much great design and manufacturing talent in South Africa, we just need to connect them to their customers better,” he says..