Eclectic proves electric

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Copy of NM DECOR THUENS 3 . Smuts painted his bedroom wall black and is covering it with art. Picture: Jacques Naude

Durban - He opened Moyo uShaka with a partner when he was in his 20s; today he is a shareholder in the popular restaurant on the pier. Theuns Smuts is the owner of yet another distinctive establishment, Hai.bo in Greyville. Both venues offer insight into his quirky design style.

Smuts’s up-market apartment is a blend of fine art and local crafts, objects collected on visits to exotic locations and those bought in Point Road pawn shops.

In Miami he bought a table and matching mirror with an art deco feel. The table stands before a red wall in Theuns’s bedroom. On the wall are letters from his sister as well as “art” letters produced by an American artist.

There is a 1981 Copenhagen Christmas plate and a tile from Moyo, among other things.

The red wall is at one end of a tub that divides the open-plan bath and bedroom. The bedroom feature wall – behind the bed – is painted black and covered in an array of art and objects.

On the bed are cushions from Kenya, the iheart market, one made from a recycled cardigan and some bought from mass retailers. Like any good magpie, Smuts doesn’t discriminate – he just collects.

He keeps what has meaning to him, such as the Perspex light fitting he was given by friends when he arrived in Durban and a throw, knitted by his mother, for his home.

There is also plenty of fine art as Smuts was raised in a home with an appreciation for art. From his German grandparents are a collection of mid-century German etches.

When you enter the flat, you walk past a painting he bought from the old Bean Bag Café (which is now Hai.bo) and around the corner is a painting by South African post-modernist Dirk Meerkotter.

“I love the idea of a R4 000 artwork next to one worth R100 000. I enjoy putting things together.”

His dining table is set among chairs he bought at a pawn shop and had recovered in Shweshwe fabrics.

Smuts is known for his “crazy” dinner parties – the colourfully made up table demonstrates his bold, creative flair.

Red and black are the dominant colours throughout the apartment – a clever use of colour to create unity and harmony in a space that incorporates many different elements. - The Mercury

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