What a pleasure it is to introduce some more special Rhodes kids to you all – I had the privilege of studying with Lexi and Graeme, and can honestly say that they both take the notions of determination and daring to dream to a new levels! So impressed with their achievements and very excited for them about the new adventure they are about to embark on soon ;) Much love to you guys…
Who are you and what do you do / make / sell?
We’re Wonderland Collective – a creative studio based in Cape Town, housed in the Woodstock Exchange. We a full service ideas studio. Clients come to us with their business or product ideas and we decipher what is the best route for implementation. This can take shape in several formats – websites, apps, custom illustrations, spacial experiences, pop-up shops – the list goes on.
To keep our creativity alive we also make and sell our own products. Recently we have designed and produced limited edition framed prints, fabrics and skateboard decks.
Did you always know that you were headed in this direction – how did you get where you are today?
We’ve always dreamed of having a creative studio, so this is a culmination of the dreams and effort towards realising them. We started out doing freelance work and as the level of client increased, we started growing organically by hiring our first designer, moving in and out of an office, moving into our main bedroom at home and then moving back into an office and growing to 7 full time staff. We finally feel like we have the right collection of creative, inspired, driven people in Wonderland!
What makes your work / products / services unique?
We like to put a lot of heart and soul into our work. We talk and collaborate a lot within our studio and outside of it – so we’re influenced by a lot of amazing things. We’re also getting a lot more experience as we go and this is ploughed into our future work.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Travel. We love exploring and visiting new spots in the world. We don’t even realise how inspired we are when we travel – we just see the influences in the work we deliver. We’re a visual bunch of people so Pinterest, Behance and general design blogs really help us along our way. We also take our entire studio to Design Indaba every year. It’s an amazing conference which tops us up on inspiration every year.
Who are your creative idols?
Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Tretchikoff, Louise Fili, Steven Heller, Dean Poole – the list could go on.
Where do you like to hang out – what are your favorite spots in your town/city/country?
Well, we work in Woodstock and it’s currently bustling with creative energy. Our current favourite places are the Tap House (Devils Peak Brewery), The Kitchen, Beerhouse, Blue Bird Garage Market (Muizenberg) and C’est La Vie in Kalk Bay.
Given the opportunity, where would you like to travel/explore?
We travel overseas 1-2 times per year. Lately we’ve been doing European cities like Rome, London and the Cote D’Azure. We get inspired by all of these places and then use that inspiration in our work. Before that we were hooked on Asia: Vietnam, Thailand, Bali. Soon we’re going to do South America: Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc.
How does a typical day for you play out?
We feed our dogs at 3am, go back to sleep. Get up, make a ton of coffee, haul our ass to work and get cracking with the studio. We have a ton of meetings – some of them new business, others are current project related, we might have a Wonderland “giving back” event where we do ground work CSI or another meeting in town. We will discuss our own products, laugh a lot, tease each other, play table tennis and drink champagne.
With a day all to yourself (no meetings, distractions, to-do-lists) and an unlimited budget, what would you get up to?
We would probably do a hell of a lot of our own product R&D. We love going to new places, seeing new techniques and talking to new suppliers. We’d also finish our pending new website design. Hopefully this will launch in the tail end of 2014.
If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
Probably run an island style bar somewhere in Asia.
Where can we stalk you?
Website: www.wonderlandworks.co.za (new site coming soon)
What does your workspace / studio look like?
We’re based in The Woodstock Exchange in Woodstock so the overall building look is quite trendy but still has an industrial feel. Our studio is bright and colourful. We love having a creative home where we can design and play in our own space. We usually bring one of our dogs or Gizmo our parrot into the office. We love having a good vibe in our space.
We have been very lucky to work with a number of NGO’s on some of the projects they needed help with, but one of the projects we absolutely adored working on this year, was the conceptualisation and execution of The Bacon Pop Up Bar in Franschhoek, the real life home for Bacon of The Month Club. From designing the overall look and feel (and where our creativity really got to push the boundaries in terms of pop-up shops) to seeing it come to life, and now the great response we’ve had from food and design critics and the general public – The Bacon Bar will go down as our favourite from 2014!