A master in creating linens in exquisite African-inspired colorways and in using them to great effect in interior design, de Le Cuona has paved the way for these tonal natural materials in design. Here’s what inspires Bernie herself…

See: Interior design trends – the 20 top looks for the year

1. A designer I admire

A textile designer I admire is Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh.  The wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, her designs were not only in advance of their time, but a key feature in the ‘Glasgow Style’ of the 1890s.  As well as textiles, she produced larger watercolors, like The Mysterious Garden (above).

2. The design rule to learn

The design rule I advocate for decorating is to live with what feels right to you.  Never be a slave to fashion or someone else’s look. 

3. My favorite fabric

At the moment my favourite fabric is Pure 7 (opens in new tab) from my Pure organic linens at de Le Cuona (opens in new tab).  The design of this weave began with and is inspired by the bark of a tree. Woven from fine linen fibres, it is hand washed to become a heavy, yet elegant cloth that falls beautifully.

4. My everyday luxury

An everyday luxury I can’t live without are my Apple AirPods.  I listen to stories, music and podcasts on them every day. 

5. My go-to design store

Willer in Kensington is an interiors gallery selling the most perfectly realised selection 
of furniture, objects, lighting and tableware.  The throws by Claudy Jongstra are irresistible

6. A young designer to know

A young South African industrial designer I’ve noted is Charles Haupt.  I’ve bought his bronze Num Num dining table with a base that refers to the thorns on the tree. This collection was inspired by the South African shrub of the same name.

7. The design book of the moment

A book I’ve recently read from cover to cover is Contemporary Design Africa (opens in new tab) by Tapiwa Matsinde.  It presents the work of designers and craftspeople in a new light. 

8. A design object I love

I’m very attached to a table lamp I’ve had for 30 years. It’s the Pausania by Ettore Sottsass (opens in new tab) and was the first expensive design object I bought as a young adult.

9. My favorite garden design

The garden I love most is Kirstenbosch (opens in new tab), a 
huge garden outside of Cape Town backed by Table Mountain.  It’s all about woods and exotic plants that look like they should be extinct!

10. A visit worth taking

For memorable holidays I visit Sausage Tree Safari Camp in Zambia, based in the incredibly beautiful Lower Zambezi National Park.